Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta has shrugged off the talk about him blowing up the team as he has confirmed that they intend to keep the roster and try to make a run at the championship with the players they have. The Rockets entered last season with high hopes after trading for Russell Westbrook but still they couldn't make it past the Western Conference Semifinals.
After losing 4-1 to the Los Angeles Lakers in these past NBA playoffs, the Rockets split with their coach Mike D'Antoni and long-time general manager Daryl Morey. Some thought the Rockets would push the reset button and enter the rebuilding mode after splitting ways with D'Antoni and Morey.
"You have James Harden and Russell Westbrook and you have almost 90 percent of your salaries tied up in them and Eric Gordon,” Fertitta said in his weekly CNBC appearance, per Yahoo Sports. “But anytime you have players like Eric, P.J.
(Tucker), James and Russell, there’s no reason to blow up your roster."
Rockets owner Fertitta remains confident in Westbrook and James Harden
“This is still our window, the next couple years. James and Russell are in their early 30s.
We’re not blowing up anything. We plan on contending. I always said you want to set yourself up to be one of the top four teams in your conference each year and then it takes a little luck to win. You look at every year it always takes a little luck," Fertitta noted.
“So, we’re going to set ourselves up to make the moves, to be one of the top teams. We’re going to do whatever we have to do to win. I can promise that to my fans and compete for the NBA championship this year”.
In the summer of 2019, after two years with the team, the Rockets decided to move on from Chris Paul as they sent the point guard to the Oklahoma City Thunder in a trade package that landed them Westbrook. Per report, Fertitta wanted Paul gone.
"That trade was made because Tilman Fertitta wanted it made -- he thought Chris Paul's contract was the worst that he'd ever seen in business or sports -- and because James Harden wanted it made," Tim McMahon said In the latest Lowe Post podcast with ESPN's Zach Lowe CBS Sports.
"James Harden, obviously there was a personality clash, this stuff has all been well documented and well reported. I still believe, and I wrote this last summer before things went down. I still believe that if necessary they could have managed that situation; I know a lot of people throughout the organization believe that."