Posts Tagged ‘Houston Rockets’

What’s a few more million on the bill after you’ve already paid $2.2 billion?

Tilman Fertitta is thrilled to have finally landed the Houston Rockets after falling short in the bidding two decades ago. He paid the highest price in NBA history to secure the Rockets, and if they’re truly contending for a title, Feritta is willing to continue his generosity.

Feritta told Yaron Weitzman of Bleacher Report he is “absolutely” willing to pay the luxury tax to contend.

“When you start looking to the future and into keeping this team together, if that’s what it’s going to take, then I’m going to leave it to the basketball people and look at their recommendations,” Fertitta said.

“These guys are smart, they know you don’t want to be in the luxury tax unless you think you have a team that can take you to The Finals – if that’s the case then who cares about paying that tax? You do whatever you have to do.”

Houston went to the Western Conference Finals three seasons ago, but they were clearly too far back of the Golden State Warriors to be considered contenders. To that end, they recruited Chris Paul to make a formidable duo with James Harden, which definitely counts as an upgrade, although Paul’s history against the Warriors is unfortunate.

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Houston, we want a hockey team.

Tilman Fertitta – the new owner of the NBA’s Houston Rockets following a record $2.2-billion sale – is interested in adding another sports franchise to his portfolio.

“I would put an NHL team here tomorrow,” Fertitta told Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. “This one has got to work. But I’d love to have the other dates in the building.

“Do I want to see Toyota Center filled up 300 nights a year? Definitely. We’ll do whatever we can do, but whatever we do has to make sense … Will we be aggressive? Yes. That’s my nature.”

The NHL recently completed an expansion phase, adding its 31st franchise in Las Vegas, while deferring a bid from Quebec City. No other expansion applications, including Houston, were submitted to the league.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman spoke on expansion as recently as Wednesday on Fox Sports, stating, “Could it happen some point? Yes, but it’s nothing we are focused on right now,” per Sportnset’s John Shannon.

Adding a team in Houston – the fourth-most populous city in the United States – would be a first for the NHL, however hockey itself is not unfamiliar with the area. The city was previously home to the WHA’s Houston Aeros from 1972-78 and a minor-pro team of the same name from 1994-2013.

Houston would also provide some intriguing benefits to the NHL. Not only would the city offer a major television market, but Houston is also a natural Texas rival to the Dallas Stars, and the team could also bring some balance to the Central Division – currently home to seven teams, while the other three divisions carry eight clubs.

The NHL was previously linked to Houston in 2015, when Boston Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs, who chairs the NHL board of governors, told Nicholas Goss of NESN, “I’d love to see (a team) in Houston, but we can’t get into that building.”

With Rockets’ ownership now changing hands, it could open the door for the NHL’s entry into Houston and the Toyota Center. The 2003-built arena seats 17,800 for hockey and is home to only one major-league tenant.

“We have to make sure hockey fans in Houston, Texas and Houstonians will come out and support an NHL team,” Fertitta added. “When the Aeros left they were drawing 2,000, 3,000, 4,000 a game. If we have an NHL team, we have to put 16,000 in that stadium every night, 17,000, 18,000.

“If I go out and get an NHL team, I’m going to ask the citizens of Houston to make sure they commit to help me do it. None of this is successful without the fans out there.”

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James Harden isn’t going to sit back while his former coach drags his name through the mud.

The Houston Rockets shooting guard did not appreciate Kevin McHale going on NBA TV and saying he’s “not a leader.”

“He’s a clown, honestly,” Harden told reporters Saturday of his coach from 2012-15. “I did anything and everything he asked me to do. I tried to lead this team every single day since I stepped foot here in Houston.

“But to go out here and downplay my name when honestly he’s never taught me anything to be a leader. But I’ve done a great job. The organization, my coaches, you can ask any of those guys how I’ve worked extremely hard every single day. …

“To go out here and downplay my name like that, it shows his character. I usually don’t go back and forth on social media with anybody or with interviews, but I’m going to stand up for myself.”

Asked if there’s bitterness lingering from McHale’s stint in Houston, which ended with his firing early in 2015-16, Harden replied:

“For sure. And I had nothing to do with it. I’m just here to do my job and compete at the highest level that I can.”

The five-time All-Star elaborated on his comment about McHale’s character, suggesting the Hall of Famer sang a different tune when they spoke in person. Harden indicated that McHale used to call him a great player and said he felt lucky to be part of the process.

Harden’s current coach, Mike D’Antoni, stood up for him.

“All I can do is talk about my experience, and he’s been unbelievably great,” D’Antoni told reporters, as quoted by ESPN’s Tim MacMahon.

“Obviously I got Coach of the Year last year because of him and the other 10 guys on the team. He’s been great with everything I asked. I asked a lot of him last year. I asked him to be the point guard, I asked him to talk in D, I asked a lot of things and he responded great.

“We had great chemistry. He’s the first one to get them all together in the summer time or take them out during the year to keep the team together. So I didn’t see it. He’s been great for me.”

Harden’s coming off his best year yet, putting up 29.1 points, a league-leading 11.2 dimes, 8.1 rebounds, and 1.5 steals per game for the Rockets and finishing second in MVP voting.

NBA: Playoffs-Oklahoma City Thunder at Houston Rockets

The new-look Houston Rockets have yet to take the floor together as a collective unit, yet James Harden is ready to board the hype train by comparing his current roster to perhaps the best one he’s ever been a part of.

Harden has just one NBA Finals appearance on his resume. It came back in 2012 with the Oklahoma City Thunder, who fell in five games to the Heatles of South Beach. So are this year’s Rockets as good as that Thunder squad?

“Both teams are similar as far as talent and versatility, a mixture of vets and young guys. Both are very, very, very talented,” Harden told Vice Sports’ Michael Pina. “Now, obviously, the difference is we were younger back then, but both are good.”

Harden was in his third season in the Association when Oklahoma City advanced to the Finals, and hadn’t blossomed into the full-fledged megastar he is today. He was, however, honored as the Sixth Man of the Year for his contributions during the 66-game campaign, averaging 16.8 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 3.7 assists coming off the bench.

Equipped with a young Harden, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and Serge Ibaka, as well as established veterans Derek Fisher, Kendrick Perkins, and Nazr Mohammed, the Thunder had the pieces in place to be a mainstay in the Finals picture. Harden, though, was shipped off to Houston that summer after failing to agree to a contract extension.

Bringing in Chris Paul to run the point single-handedly reshaped the Rockets. Not only does it pair Harden with another All-Star in the backcourt, but it also took a bite out of a core that had just increased its season win total from 41 victories to 55, with Patrick Beverley, Sam Dekker, Lou Williams, and Montrezl Harrell going to the Los Angeles Clippers.

CP3 is indisputably the best player Harden’s had on his team since his days in OKC, which helps explain why he’s so optimistic about the Rockets’ chances moving forward, and why he’s willing to make such comparisons. Reigning Sixth Man of the Year Eric Gordon, sharpshooting forward Ryan Anderson, and big man Nene are at least still around, while Houston added depth at the wing positions by signing both P.J. Tucker and Luc Mbah a Moute.

Ultimately, the ’12 Thunder will have the edge until Harden’s Rockets compete for the Larry O’Brien Trophy themselves.

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Longtime owner Les Alexander has agreed to sell the Houston Rockets to local businessman Tilman Fertitta, the team announced Tuesday.

The deal was first reported by FOX26’s Mark Berman. Multiple reports peg the price at an NBA record $2.2 billion, exceeding the $2 billion paid by Steve Ballmer for the Los Angeles Clippers in 2014.

The sale includes the Toyota Center and is subject to approval by the NBA Board of Governors.

Alexander put the Rockets up for sale in July. He purchased the franchise back in 1993 for $85 million, overseeing the team to its only two NBA championships in 1994 and 1995.

“I am excited to welcome and pass the torch to Tilman,” Alexander said in the team statement. “I … don’t think I could have found anyone more capable of continuing the winning tradition of our Houston Rockets.”

Fertitta – with an estimated net worth of $2.8 billion – owns the Golden Nugget casino chain as well as several restaurants. He also hosts a CNBC reality show, “Billion Dollar Buyer.”

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Rockets owner Leslie Alexander continues to show generosity toward the city of Houston, increasing his donation for Hurricane Harvey relief efforts from $4 million to $10 million on Tuesday, according to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle.

A spokesman confirmed Alexander’s pledge to Feigen, but the team didn’t announce it because the owner didn’t want the focus to be on him.

In a statement Monday, Alexander and the Rockets said, “Our hearts are heavy seeing the devastation that so many of our friends, family, and neighbors are experiencing.”

Alexander isn’t the only member of the Rockets organization who’s raised money for relief efforts – Chris Paul has donated a combined $75,000 for flood victims.

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Is Beyonce getting into formation to buy a piece of the Houston Rockets?

The pop star is reportedly considering an investment in the team, sources told Bloomberg’s Scott Soshnick.

A native of Houston, Beyonce Knowles-Carter could offer community ties to whoever takes over as the Rockets’ controlling owner, now that longtime owner Leslie Alexander has decided to put the team up for sale.

Her husband, rapper Jay-Z, famously owned a small percentage of the Brooklyn Nets, playing a pivotal role in their relocation from New Jersey in 2012. He was forced to sell his stake in the team in 2013 in order for his upstart sports agency, Roc Nation Sports, to be allowed to represent NBA players, per league rules.

It’s unclear if his ownership of Roc Nation Sports could impact Beyonce’s ownership bid with the Rockets, but there’s a second ramification that stems from Jay-Z’s tenure as an owner: the colloquially named “Jay-Z rule.”

The league’s board of governors passed a rule several years ago mandating that each minority stakeholder in a team must own at least one percent, with no greater than 25 individuals in an ownership group altogether.

With team valuations skyrocketing since Steve Ballmer purchased the Los Angeles Clippers for $2 billion in 2014, that limits the potential for small-stake figurehead owners from owning a piece of a franchise.

Therefore, if Beyonce wants to be a minority owner of the Rockets, and Alexander angling for at least $2 billion for the team, the “Crazy in Love” singer would pony up at least $20 million for a one percent stake. Forbes valued Beyonce’s net worth at $350 million earlier this year, but even still, the economics of the league are very different from even four years ago.

There will be much to consider and red tape to navigate for Beyonce if she’s serious about joining the NBA family.