Rockets Announce Franchise Up For Sale

2:58pm: The Rockets have formally issued a press release announcing that the franchise is for sale. Alexander said in a statement that it’s been a”great joy and honor” to own the team for the last 24 years.

“I’ve made this decision after much deliberation with my family and friends, and do so knowing the franchise is in great shape with the players, coaches and management team in place,” Alexander said. “CEO Tad Brown will oversee the sales process with the league office, supported by my management team.”

2:26pm: An NBA franchise is officially on the market. Rockets CEO Tad Brown announced today at a press conference that owner Leslie Alexander is putting the team – along with Clutch City Sports & Entertainment – up for sale (video link via Mark Berman of FOX 26 Houston).

According to Brown, Alexander had been approached about selling the Rockets from time to time over the years, but had never really considered it until now. Brown went on to suggest that Alexander, after talking to family and close friends, is looking at “changing the fabric of his life” and focusing on different passions. Brown made it clear that Alexander isn’t dealing with any health issues (Twitter link).

As Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle tweets, the Rockets would prefer the timeline for a sale to be “sooner rather than later.” However, the club isn’t in a rush, since a stable management team is in place, Brown said today.

People around the NBA have been wondering for some time which owner or ownership group would be the first to cash out after a substantial rise in team valuations over the last several years, tweets Zach Lowe of ESPN.com. Still, Alexander’s decision didn’t just come as a surprise to people around the NBA — it also surprised those within the Rockets’ franchise, says ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

Many NBA franchises sold within the last decade have been smaller-market clubs, including the Kings ($534MM in 2013) and Bucks ($550MM in 2014). The Hawks ($850MM in 2015) could be another reference point. Of course, Steve Ballmer paid $2 billion for the Clippers in 2014 — I’d expect the Rockets’ sale price to be closer to that figure than the others, and potentially even higher.

Even back in February, before the Rockets won a playoff series, traded for Chris Paul, and extended James Harden, Forbes placed a $1.65 billion valuation on the franchise, and Forbes’ estimates are often low. Alexander bought the team for $85MM back in 1993, Feigen notes (Twitter link).

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18 thoughts on “Rockets Announce Franchise Up For Sale

  1. madmanTX

    Sell high, buy low: just don’t sell to somebody who wants to move the franchise or to clowns who will run the franchise into the ground to recoup their purchase money in the 1st 5 years of ownership.

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  2. hcsloan

    After CP acquisition & then the push to acquire Anthony & his high $$$ demand, then multiple off the wall acquisitions of lower level talent & their $$ demands (i.e., drains away $$ to acquire Anthony & other Talent key to De Antoni’s system, it sounds like the “inmates had taken control of the asylum” & ownership finally became fed up with their arrogant demands for “what THEY Wanted!”

    I guess all good things must come to an end, but my hat is off to Alexander, who has been a great owner!

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    • GuruGray

      Or maybe he just wants to make a few billion dollars. “The inmates” lol

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  3. jaybrandon

    I’ve got like $83. Anyone else wanna pitch in and do this?!

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    • Michael Chaney

      A different team maybe, but there’s no way that the Rockets will (or should) leave Houston.

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  4. Matt Galvin

    Seattle has an Owner Chris Hassan. KC? Tampa Bay? St. Louis? Las Vegas? San Jose? Canada city? Hawaii?

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  5. Byoung505

    I got 550$ I’ll do it and win a ship in 2018 with Houston
    GO H-TOWN

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  6. xabial

    Shame, I always thought Leslie was a great owner other than that one time he wad close to firing Morey if the D’Antoni hiring didn’t work out… (As I alluded to when I commented on the Hoopsrumors article announcing Morey’s four year contract extension)

    Can you imagine if someone like Dolan buys it! Actually, I hear Jeff Loria (worst owner in all 4 professional sports) is selling the Florida Marlins for $1.3 billion or so. Maybe he wants to a own a team in a salary capped sport so he could spend less.

    Either way this is sudden.. and scary. The Rockets always had stability under Leslie Alexander. Thank god Morey already got that extension.

    I think there’s nowhere to go but up for this franchise, I have no idea why Leslie Alexander wants to sell. Wtf? At least wait until your franchise goes through an extended period of hard time (which I have yet to see under Alexander’s ownership)

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    • xabial

      In the next six years, Harden would make a little more than 1/5 what the team sells for assuming the team sells for exactly $1 billion (And I have a feeling, it’s gonna sell for way higher)

      Owning a NBA/MLB/NFL/NHL team has always been a $$$$$dream$$$$$$ of mine :)

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