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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34 thoughts on “Rockets Notes: Fertitta, House, Carmelo, Westbrook

  1. Noel1982

    With harden and Westbrook locked in the next two years and no draft picks in their control or young players to convince teams to trade their star or do a sign in trade rockets won’t be in the 2020 or 2021 free agent chase! They will need to keep spending their exceptions to improve

  2. KnickerbockerAl

    Rockets should sign WCStein. He’s young and can be the rim protector they need. 24-30 mins a gm. Definitely can use him for playoffs. They can sign him and a midlevel player. Gordon is a player they can move.

    • harden-westbrook-mvps

      They’d be better off with Boogie, assuming the other players on the team are willing to have him and he won’t disturb the chemistry.

    • I can’t stand Willie cauley-stein as a player. He’s a cool dude and a great guy, but as a player it is so difficult to watch him. You figure he would be a shot blocker because he’s athletic and long but he gets lost in position defense and it’s frustrating to watch.

      Then he works on his jump shot after hours but shoots from the side of his head which physically is way more difficult to be accurate. Everyone with a brain knows you need to shoot in front of your face where you’re squared up straight or on top of your forehead straight. The one notable exception, Larry Bird LOL. Anyway, can’t watch Willie cauley-stein play anymore. As far as I’m concerned he should be done. Not worth more than a minimum contract and not guaranteed even.

      • KnickerbockerAl

        Yeah there are issues. Don’t really know why. But he’s still young. You’d think he would get it. If he’s contending. Cousins not bad. But his weight and injuries is a concern. You have to manage his mins. And he’s not signing for less than midlevel .

  3. Sillivan

    Different coaching

    Rockets want Melo to step back then shoot from 18 feet
    Blazers want Melo to step front then shoot from 8 feet

  4. x%sure

    The Rockets already have 2 star players, 2 medium, some have flashes, enough is rising— Daniel House has apparently become reliable and Nwaba will be back. They have innovation. It’s just a matter of banging on the door enough, to break through.

    Fertitta though, don’t be deceived. That wording above says he does have a limit— “two or three million” into the luxury tax. Then he says no limit.

    • ThePeople'sElbow

      they have been banging on the door and been getting told: “You shall not pass!”

    • GoLandCrabs

      They have very little cap room. No the Rockers are not winning a title with the 2 biggest playoff busts in the NBA.

  5. Sillivan

    Next year my predictions
    60 win teams
    Clippers Warriors

    55 win teams
    Lakers Nuggets

    50 win teams

    Usually if a team is on Tier 3 in the conference they can’t win a championship

  6. Simmons>Russ

    Crazy idea number 500

    What about Russell Westbrook for Ben Simmons?

    I know it never will happen Russ is Harden best friend and Simmons can shoot. But you have to think Russ and Harden they have got what 2/3 years maybe where they will actually be good together. In that 3 years you still have Lakers with a Bron and AD, Clippers with Kawhi and PG, Bucks with Giannis, Boston with Tatum and Kemba and so on. The young kids are taking over the league look at Doncic, SpidaMitchell, Zion, Ja, The process in Philly, Tatum, Siakim and so on.

    Where are the rockets in 3/4 years, zero championships and two 30+ year olds on 40+mil each. They eventually need to realise they can’t win with these two and go young.
    Philly on the other hand are Inpatient and want to win now. They don’t think Ben and Joel work together and they have invested so much on making it work.

    Ben Simmons plus Harden, Eric Gordon, RoCo and Tucker that’s his ideal line up. He has 4 good outside shooters around him playing in an offence that wants him to drive and score or kick out. Defensively this team does alright too, RoCo and Tucker are good and adding Simmons would make that group even better.

    For Philly this shows you’ve given up on Ben and going around Joel and want to win now. Russ Tobias Harris and Joel would form a good big 3 and play in the much easier eastern conference. Russ as a point would make easier match ups against Kemba Kyrie Kyle Lowry and Brogdon compared to LeBron Curry Lillard CP3 Murray Ja DAngelo.

    End of the day I think for both teams if gives them a better chance of being successful. Rockets get a lot better long term and Sixers get better chance winning in the east and going further.

    • harden-westbrook-mvps

      That’s a huge downgrade for Houston trading away an MVP for a marginal star like Simmons. Let’s not forget that playing in the east inflates his numbers against all the inferior teams he gets to face. So if he went to the West then he would struggle just to make the All-Star team while Russ would put up MVP numbers just like Giannis does playing against teams like NY, Chicago, and Cleveland all the time.

      • Simmons>Russ

        True it might be a down grade but look at the bigger picture. The rockets aren’t making it out of the west against the Lakers and clippers and GSW and in the future the Jazz Nuggets Pelicans and Grizzlies all look to be getting better.
        Russ is 31 and collecting 40 mil but I doubt in 2/3 years time he is still worth that. And in 2/3 years time it’s not like the Rockets actually achieve anything.

        Ben Simmons yes he plays in the easier east but that team doesn’t suit his play style as much as the Rockets would. Ben would be surrounded by great 3 point shooters and that gives him the spacing to attack the rim and kick out. Yes the Rockets might not win as many games and yes Simmons might not have the same numbers as Russ.
        But in 4 years time your going to have Russ and Harden both 35 collecting 40 mil each and still not being a threat and having won nothing. With Simmons you not only save 10 mil per season, you get a better defender, you get someone 7 years younger which means after Harden you have something to build around.

    • Because Simmons can’t shoot a lick he needs the ball in his hands to be effective at all on the floor. That doesn’t work in Houston because they are most effective and Harden with the ball in his hands.

      • Simmons>Russ

        Actually the Rockets have two players with the ball always in their hands Russ and Harden.

        In the whole league Harden has the second highest usage rate and Russ has the 7th highest. Russ as the second ball handler on that team still gets used more often than LeBron on the Lakers, Booker the Suns, Donovan Mitchell on the Jazz and Lillard on the Blazers.

        Meaning Simmons on the Rockets would actually result in Simmons getting more touches than he gets now on the Sixers. Harden would be perfectly fine still getting the same amount of touches and the Rockets would be fine.

  7. Where is Harden Westbrook MVP? I was about to razz him about the Rockets going Millions over the luxury-tax…, just like my Warriors. He’s always needing me about that fact so I guess now that the Rockets are doing willing lux tax participants who you going to root for now? :)

    • harden-westbrook-mvps

      How many millions are we talking about here? Houston’s payroll for 2021 is currently $131.7M and Golden State’s is already at $148.9M which gives them a tax bill of $26M. If they decide to use the $17M TPE then the Warriors luxury tax bill is going to be enormous. While the Rockets might decide to go a few million over the luxury tax and end up paying a modest tax bill even a cheapskate like Fertitta is willing to swallow.

      • I read somewhere this week and I posted it in another article that it’s possible the Warriors spend a 137 million tax next year. Astronomical.

          • Snell is okay. He doesn’t stick out or stand out for me. He’s whatever. That being said he’d be great on the Warriors bench. Better than those guys off the G league team.

            • ThePeople'sElbow

              you do realize that the G leaguers were there because of the hard cap and a lost season? With the core back to health next season it’s more than likely that FA vets who want to play for a ring are interested in signing for the minimum.

            • Sillivan

              Snell could be bridge player

              Later attach a First to trade for a Good overpay player

          • ThePeople'sElbow

            Snell is wack. Don’t need to acquire fringe bench players from crappy teams and waste the TE when the Dubs can likely re-sign Burks or GR3 to play those roles much like they did this season. For the minimum or close to it.

      • ThePeople'sElbow

        who cares it’s not our money? If Lacob is willing to spend that money to keep the window open then more power to him.

      • ThePeople'sElbow

        Fertitta wouldn’t even pay his thousands of employees who make his billions for him during the pandemic, what makes you think he has the stomach for luxury tax spending?

  8. Jeff Zanghi

    Given that Carmelo has been so good this season, do you guys think that he’ll be back next year? Either with Portland or somewhere else? I think as long as he still wants to play he should definitely be able to find a team willing to sign him. He’s clearly made the adjustment from former superstar to role player quite well this season… and I think a lot of teams would like to have him if he continues with this attitude going forward.

    • I would think he would be in Portland next year. They’re happy with his production and he’s grateful for the opportunity they gave him. If he leaves for more money somewhere else that would be a shame.

      • x%sure

        Yes… most teams either have crucial players or youngsters they want to give a chance to. And Portland is not breaking out with him. Melo will return there. Why not Portland, with talent but limited competition at forward?

  9. KnickerbockerAl

    Melo is playing much better in Portland. I think he got the message. This is his last shot. I even think his D is better. Even taking good shots. Believe me he hasn’t done those two things in 6 yrs lols. Believe me I watched all of them. League pass big time Knick fan

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