The Boston Celtics will be paying close attention to what the Philadelphia 76ers do with Jimmy Butler -- and not just from the vantage point of an Eastern Conference competitor.
The Houston Rockets plan to recruit Butler by pushing the Sixers to execute a sign-and-trade deal once he hits free agency June 30, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Tuesday night.
What does a Rockets-Sixers trade involving Butler have to do with Boston? Per Wojnarowski, Houston likely "would need to include" two of Clint Capela, Eric Gordon and P.J. Tucker to make the financials work and entice Philly into the trade.
The Celtics, who already traded Aron Baynes and are expected to lose Al Horford in free agency, reportedly have checked in on Capela as a frontcourt option.
The 25-year-old is under contract for the next four years (he's set to make $14.9 million next season) and would give the C's a defensive presence they'll miss without Horford, although it's unclear how he'd perform outside of a Rockets system that maximized his talents.
The Sixers will be "aggressive" in trying to re-sign Butler, per Wojnarowski, and could thwart Houston's plans by offering him a five-year, $190 million deal. But the Rockets reportedly could try to land Butler by sending Capela to Philly, which would take another big man off the market for a Boston team that needs frontcourt depth one way or the other.
Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.