Posts Tagged ‘Houston Rockets’

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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.

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Former Houston Rockets center Dikembe Mutombo is gathering the necessary resources and funding to make a bid at purchasing the franchise.

“I’m working on it,” Mutombo told FOX 26 Sports’ Mark Berman. “I’m talking to a lot of people already since (Monday). We’ll see.

“I’m just talking to the people who can cut the check and they can make me be part of it. I’m working on that.”

Rockets president Tad Brown announced Monday afternoon that owner Leslie Alexander intended to sell the team after 24 years, with Brown being placed in charge of coordinating the sales process with the NBA’s league office.

Two years ago, Mutombo attempted to buy another former team of his when a majority stake became available in the Atlanta Hawks. A purchase by an ownership group led by Tony Ressler was eventually approved by the NBA’s Board of Governors, though.

Now with another shot at becoming an owner, Mutombo doesn’t want this chance to slip away from him.

“A lot of people think it’s a great thing,” Mutombo said. “It’s a great opportunity.

“Now it’s just a question of the number. There’s going to be a lot of discussion and a lot of cash.”

Mutombo spent the last five years of his Hall of Fame career in a Rockets uniform. Seeing the team on the rise in the Western Conference, especially following the acquisition of All-Star Chris Paul, the former four-time Defensive Player of the Year wants to strike while the iron is hot.

“It’s like someone who’s already sitting on the runway trying to take off,” Mutombo added. “That’s what kind of team the Rockets are right now. The Rockets are a great franchise. They have a great team. They’ve got great coaches, great basketball players, great staff. Whoever is coming in, it’s not like they’re going to have to rebuild it.

“I’m trying to convince some people about trying to buy this team. It’s one of the best franchises right now. It’s really the right time.”

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Jerry West couldn’t have arrived at a better time.

The Los Angeles Clippers are growing increasingly concerned over the possibility that Chris Paul could leave in free agency, sources told Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times.

Paul has been linked to the San Antonio Spurs, and will also speak with the Denver Nuggets and Houston Rockets, one executive told Turner.

The Clippers can offer Paul the most money on his next deal – a five-year maximum worth $205 million. Paul, who serves as president of the NBA Players Association, tangentially made this contract offer possible in the new collective bargaining agreement by altering the under-36 rule.

Any other suitor can only offer Paul $152 million over four years.

From Los Angeles’ side, the message has been consistent: the team wants to re-sign Paul. Owner Steve Ballmer is reportedly committed to keeping the Clippers’ core group together, even if the price tag is astronomically high.

However, the Clippers have largely spun their wheels in recent seasons and Paul is running out of time to secure a title in his prime. The 32-year-old guard continues to face criticism for failing to make it past the second round, and changing teams might be the best option for him to reach his goal.

Paul averaged 18.1 points, 9.2 assists, five rebounds, and 1.9 steals last season while posting a hyper-efficient true shooting percentage of 61.4.

NBA: Houston Rockets-Media Day

In a league with seemingly endless amounts of money, $6 million was the difference between multiple years of Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and James Harden tearing up the league together, instead of what we have now, all of them on different teams.

Back in 2012, Thunder GM Sam Presti was hesitant to give a max contract to a player that had always come off the bench for his team, so he opted to trade Harden for a slew of picks and questionable talent to Houston that – four years later – turned out to be just Steven Adams.

Hindsight is 20/20 on these things, but back then Rockets GM Daryl Morey wasn’t quite sure he was getting as much of a return on his investment.

“People always ask, ‘You traded for him; did you know he was this good?'” Morey told Howard Beck of Bleacher Report. “I’m like, ‘F–k no!’ I mean, we thought he was extremely good and better than other teams probably did.

“Everyone thought that he was on the coattails of Kevin and Russ.”

Handing the reigns over to a player that had never been more than a sixth man – and third option – was a risky move for Morey, but luckily for him, the deal was already won within the first two games of Harden’s career as a Rocket. Four days after the trade, the L.A. native put up 37 points and 12 assists in his first game, then dropped a cool 45 on 14-of-19 shooting in his second – there’s been no doubting it since.

Coming to Houston, people knew he would have an uptick in production just based solely off opportunity and usage rate, but no one could have predicted the offensive powerhouse he’s become today.

“I think he’s maybe the greatest off-the-dribble driver of all time, in terms of his ability to create offense at a high-efficiency rate for his team,” Morey added.

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Having played alongside James Harden for three seasons with the Oklahoma City Thunder, four-time scoring champion Kevin Durant knows first hand just how exceptional a talent the Houston Rockets guard is.

Since Harden left the confides of Chesapeake Energy Arena to compete in the Lone Star State, the 26-year-old has established himself as one of the most dominant scorers in the game. However, with his exceptional scoring prowess comes a controversial reputation of being a poor team player, which, paired with his occasionally comical defense and inconsistent effort, makes the four-time All-Star a truly polarizing figure on and off the hardwood.

Nonetheless, Durant continues to stand by his former teammate, questioning why others fail to see his greatness.

“Nobody really appreciates what he does except for the players in our league,” Durant said prior to practice with the U.S. men’s Olympic team on Sunday, according to the Houston Chronicle’s Jonathan Feigen. “Everybody on the outside doesn’t really appreciate what he brings. Anybody that can put up 29 points, seven rebounds, seven assists and not make the All-NBA team, that’s like a sin to even think about not putting a guy like that on the All-NBA team.”

“As a player and someone that played with him and a fan of the game I was (angry) because somebody is right here in front of you and you can’t appreciate him. If he were to retire tomorrow, we would have so many stories and videos about how great he is, but he’s here right now doing it. Appreciate what he brings.”

The 26-year-old recently inked a four-year extension worth a reported $118.1 million with the Rockets after averaging career highs in minutes (38.1), points (29), rebounds (6.1), and assists (7.5) in a full 82-game slate last season.

Houston won 15 fewer games than they did in 2014-15, though, which certainly didn’t help Harden’s cause in making one of the three All-NBA squads. The six guards who were selected ahead of him (Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook, Damian Lillard, Chris Paul, Klay Thompson, and Kyle Lowry) were also highly deserving, with their respective teams finishing ahead of the Rockets in the standings.

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James Harden has a reputation for being somewhat of a defensive liability.

The Houston Rockets guard acknowledged that critical flaw in his game recently before insisting the chatter “doesn’t really” bother him.

“Everybody makes mistakes,” he told Lang Whitaker of NBA.com. “I can look up the same amount of plays for myself as the other top guys in the league. So I don’t really worry, I don’t focus on it.”

He then blamed his defensive shortcomings on his workload.

“It’s really difficult to go out there, play all 82 games, lead the league in minutes, and have to do everything offensively. I mean, no one else had that weight on their shoulders in the league,” Harden said.

He’s expecting matters to change for the better.

Following a 41-41 regular season and a first-round playoff exit, the Rockets hired Mike D’Antoni as head coach. They also nabbed Jeff Bzdelik – who was the head defensive coach for the Memphis Grizzlies – to help with their defense, which ranked in the bottom third of the league and allowed opponents to score 106.4 points per contest (sixth-highest).

“You know, everybody talks about, ‘The Rockets aren’t a good defensive team,'” Harden said. “Well, we got one of the best defensive coaches in the league now. So it’s all about preparation. In this league it’s all about preparation, putting guys in positions where they’re successful, and good things happen.”

In terms of player personnel, the club added Ryan Anderson, Eric Gordon, and Nene Hilario this offseason. Harden’s convinced the boost in talent will take some offensive pressure off of him and thus enable him to excel at both ends of the court.

The 26-year-old All-Star’s excited about working with new teammates and coaching staff, and establishing a culture within the organization that promotes “doing things the right way and holding each other accountable,” which he admitted Houston “kind of lacked last year, and it showed.”

Harden’s optimistic the 2016-17 campaign will be different.

“I’m just excited to have some stability, have some guys who are going to work and focus on winning. This year’s going to be a lot better,” he said.

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The Houston Rockets are known for their all-out approach toward recruiting superstars. With Kevin Durant hitting the market, the Rockets will likely push those efforts into overdrive.

As ESPN’s Marc Stein reports, though, Durant has no interest in joining his former teammate James Harden in Houston.

The two Team USA fixtures were spotted hanging out in Houston this week, but the visit was nothing out of the ordinary for the pair, Stein relays. They have a friendship that dates back to when they became Oklahoma City Thunder teammates in 2009.

Stein writes that league executives expect Durant to have face-to-face meetings with the Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs, among other teams.

Nevertheless, the prevailing opinion around the league is Durant will likely re-sign with the Thunder on a two-year deal so he can re-enter free agency with a greater earning power.

Durant could earn as much as $204 million on a five-year maximum contract if he hits the market in 2017, compared to $146 million on a max this summer.