Hous­ton Rock­ets owner Alexan­der is sell­ing team

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

The Hous­ton Rock­ets are go­ing up for sale. Rock­ets CEO Tad Brown made the an­nounce­ment 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 on July 30, 1993, and the Rock­ets went on to win back-to-back 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, 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, cer­tainly, 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 in a state­ment. “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 and there were no plans to hire an out­side firm to help. 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 in Fe­bru­ary.

“There’s a range that we feel peo­ple are go­ing to un­der­stand and we’ll con­tinue to go from there,” he said. “What­ever’s bandied about in Forbes or other lo­ca­tions, it may or may not make a dif­fer­ence in the over­all val­u­a­tion.”

Brown said he had spo­ken to James Har­den, Chris Paul and Trevor Ariza be­fore the an­nounce­ment and that he planned to call the rest of the play­ers. In­cluded in the sale will be Clutch City Sports and En­ter­tain­ment, which puts on non-basketball shows and con­certs at the Toy­ota Cen­ter.

“It’s a nice op­por­tu­nity to have that rolled into one as­set,” Brown said. Dur­ing his time as owner of the Rock­ets Alexan­der has been ac­tive in the com­mu­nity and through his Clutch City Foun­da­tion he has given more than $35 mil­lion to char­i­ties through­out the city. — AP

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