New team emerges as potential landing spot for Miami Heat star target

Houston Rockets v Cleveland Cavaliers
Houston Rockets v Cleveland Cavaliers / Jason Miller/GettyImages

After moving up from the No. 9 to No. 3 pick during the NBA draft lottery, the Houston Rockets have a more valuable asset that it can use to make a dramatic improvement to the team. 

According to the Athletic’s Kelly Iko, the Rockets are expected to explore all avenues with the No. 3 pick, ranging from using it on a top rookie in this class, trading back, or using the pick to land a star player.

One such star could be Cleveland’s Donovan Mitchell. League sources told Iko that the Rockets “have been monitoring his situation for months.”

The Houston Rockets are a team to watch when it comes to the futures of Donovan Mitchell and Jimmy Butler.

If Mitchell refuses to sign a long-term extension in Cleveland, the Cavaliers are expected to listen to trade offers for the All-Star scorer.

“Such a move for an All-NBA type player would be more suitable than for others who could potentially be available — New Orleans’ Brandon Ingram and Brooklyn’s Mikal Bridges — for example,” Iko writes.

But if Mitchell is off the table, it’s fair to wonder if the Rockets would call the Miami Heat about Jimmy Butler. Like Mitchell, Butler is also up for an extension this summer and, if he and the Heat can’t come to an agreement, it isn’t crazy to envision teams like the Rockets calling about Butler’s availability.

Butler is from the Houston area and one figures that current Rockets coach Ime Udoka would relish the opportunity to coach the competitive Butler.

A deal including the No. 3 pick, Dillon Brooks, Steven Adams and a young player such as Tari Eason would match the salary requirements and help the Heat infuse young talent into the roster.

Or the Heat could potentially flip that package to a third team for a star to replace Butler.

While this may seem like a stretch right now, things can change quickly in the NBA. Depending on how extension negotiations for Mitchell and Butler play out, and what Houston decides to do with the No. 3 pick between now and draft night, these organizations could connect this summer.