Rockets Notes: Fertitta, House, Carmelo, Westbrook

Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta doesn’t have a reputation as a free spender, but he promises money won’t stand in the way of bringing a championship to Houston, writes Jerome Solomon of The Houston Chronicle. The Rockets made moves at the trade deadline the past two years to escape the luxury tax, including a four-team deal this season that unloaded Clint Capela and brought in Robert Covington. However, Fertitta insists the tax isn’t the team’s top consideration.

“We don’t make basketball decisions of two or three million dollars based on the luxury tax,” Fertitta said. “Our whole budget this year was to be in the luxury tax.”

General manager Daryl Morey says Fertitta hasn’t ordered him to stay under the tax threshold, and the team will almost certainly exceed it next season with Russell Westbrook and James Harden each earning more than $41MM. With two former MVPs in the backcourt, Fertitta vows to spend whatever it takes to win a title.

“We want to be champions,” he said. “You win a championship, it’s probably worth $30-50 million dollars the following year to you from sponsorships, and people wanting to buy tickets and everything else. So you want to spend the money to win a championship.”

There more Rockets news to pass along:

  • Danuel House is taking advantage of his opportunity in Orlando and once again looks like the perfect small forward for the Rockets’ system, observes Rahat Huq of Forbes. Eric Gordon was supposed to move into the starting lineup after the hiatus, but a sprained ankle has prevented him from playing. Huq notes that an improvement on defense has made House more viable as a starter.
  • Carmelo Anthony‘s success in Portland has raised questions about whether the Rockets gave up on him too quickly last season, but it was an arrangement that was never going to work, contends Brian T. Smith of The Houston Chronicle. Smith argues that Anthony wasn’t willing to adapt his game and was an awkward fit with Harden, Chris Paul and coach Mike D’Antoni.
  • Westbrook and Gordon are both improving physically, but they have been ruled out for Sunday’s game against the Kings, tweets Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. Bruno Caboclo, who is suffering from an ankle injury, won’t play either.
  • In case you missed it, Harden has been named as a finalist for MVP honors.
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