‘For sale’ sign on Rock­ets

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - SPORTS -

HOUS­TON — The Hous­ton Rock­ets are go­ing up for sale.

Rock­ets CEO Tad Brown made the an­nounce­ment on Mon­day, hours af­ter owner Les­lie Alexan­der made the de­ci­sion.

“It’s been my great joy and honor to own the Hous­ton Rock­ets for the past 24 years,” Alexan­der said in a state­ment.

“I’ve had the in­cred­i­ble op­por­tu­nity to wit­ness true great­ness through the play­ers and coaches who have won cham­pi­onships for the city, been named to All-Star and All-NBA teams, en­shrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame, and done so much for our fran­chise and our fans.”

Alexan­der took over as owner in July 1993, and the Rock­ets went on to win back-to­back ti­tles in 1994-95 be­hind the likes of Ha­keem Ola­ju­won and Clyde Drexler.

In 24 sea­sons un­der Alexan­der, the Rock­ets have won 56.9 per­cent of their games, the fifth-high­est in the league.

Brown said the 74-year-old Alexan­der had been ap­proached over the years by po­ten­tial buy­ers, but never con­sid­ered it un­til very re­cently.

“I think it’s been some­thing he’s been think­ing about a lit­tle bit,” Brown said.

“It can wear on you af­ter so many decades, and he’s tired. There are pas­sions in his life now that are be­com­ing more and more clear. His fam­ily, cer-

Paul Pierce is re­tir­ing as a Bos­ton Celtic.

The Celtics an­nounced on Mon­day they have signed Pierce to a con­tract so the 10-time All-Star, who spent the past two sea­sons with the Los An­ge­les Clip­pers, can re­tire with the team where he spent his first 15 sea­sons in the NBA.

Pierce helped bring Bos­ton a ti­tle in 2008 as part the “Big Three,” with Kevin Gar­nett and Ray Allen. He pre­vi­ously said that last sea­son would be his fi­nal one in the NBA.

tainly, and his phil­an­thropic ef­forts, what he’ll be able to do with his ad­di­tional time and his re­sources on a global scale is some­thing that he’s very much look­ing for­ward to.”

Brown em­pha­sized that Alexan­der is healthy and his health was not an is­sue in this de­ci­sion.

NBA com­mis­sioner Adam Sil­ver raved about Alexan­der.

“Les­lie Alexan­der is a true com­peti­tor who al­ways searched for the right move to make his teams bet­ter,” Sil­ver said. “Well re­spected around the league, he has been an ac­tive and in­flu­en­tial owner whose vi­sion helped to grow the game glob­ally, es­pe­cially in China.”

Brown will be work­ing with the league of­fice while the Rock­ets look for a new owner.

There is no set timetable for the sale, but Brown said they want to find the right buyer and won’t rush things.

“We’re go­ing to make sure that it is the right buyer,” Brown said. “Les­lie has the lat­i­tude of time based on our re­sources and his re­sources and every­thing as­so­ci­ated with the team right now.”

Brown would not say how much they ex­pect to get in the sale.

Forbes named Hous­ton the eighth-most valu­able fran­chise, worth an es­ti­mated $1.65 bil­lion, in its an­nual val­u­a­tion of NBA teams last Fe­bru­ary.

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