Alexan­der puts Rock­ets on the mar­ket

Fran­chise now worth about $1.6 bil­lion

The Buffalo News - - SPORTS -

Hous­ton Rock­ets owner Les­lie Alexan­der is putting the fran­chise up for sale af­ter 24 years of own­er­ship.

The 73-year-old Alexan­der bought the fran­chise for $85 mil­lion in 1993. Forbes val­ued the fran­chise in Fe­bru­ary at $1.65 bil­lion – eighth-most valu­able in the league – with rev­enue of $244 mil­lion.

“It’s been my great joy and honor to own the Hous­ton Rock­ets for the past 24 years,” Alexan­der said in a state­ment Mon­day. “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 had im­me­di­ate suc­cess as an owner as the Rock­ets won NBA ti­tles over the New York Knicks in 1994 and the Or­lando Magic in 1995 be­hind the play of Ha­keem Ola­ju­won.

“The Hous­ton com­mu­nity has been home to me,” Alexan­der said. “I will con­tinue to sup­port the char­i­ties I have made com­mit­ments to through­out the years. I’ll al­ways have a spe­cial place in my heart for the fans, part­ners, city of­fi­cials and em­ploy­ees who care so deeply for this team.

“I’ve made this de­ci­sion af­ter much de­lib­er­a­tion with my fam­ily and friends, and do so know­ing the fran­chise is in great shape with the play­ers, coaches and man­age­ment team in place.”

NBA com­mis­sioner Adam Sil­ver re­leased a state­ment on Mon­day re­gard­ing Alexan­der’s de­sire to sell the fran­chise.

“Les­lie Alexan­der is a true com­peti­tor who al­ways searched for the right move to make his teams bet­ter, Sil­ver said. “Un­der his own­er­ship, he cre­ated a cul­ture of ex­cel­lence with strong man­age­ment that at­tracted Hall of Famers, All-Stars and coach­ing gi­ants and brought two NBA cham­pi­onships and four WNBA ti­tles to Hous­ton.

“Well-re­spected around the league, he has been an ac­tive and in­flu­en­tial owner whose vi­sion helped to grow the game glob­ally, es­pe­cially in China. More­over, his phi­lan­thropy speaks just as pow­er­fully as his own­er­ship, with lo­cal li­braries, women’s cen­ters and home­less shel­ters all ben­e­fit­ting from his gen­eros­ity.”

Alexan­der put CEO Tad Brown in charge to “over­see the sales process with the league of­fice, sup­ported by my man­age­ment team.”

Brown made the an­nounce­ment dur­ing Mon­day’s news con­fer­ence at Toy­ota Cen­ter. He said Alexan­der told him “it can wear on you af­ter so many decades.”

“When he men­tioned to me this morn­ing that he had made up his mind that this was what he wanted to do, I was very sur­prised,” Brown told re­porters. “But, at the end of the day, noth­ing truly sur­prises me be­cause Les­lie is a man of many pas­sions and he’s got things he wants to do and op­por­tu­ni­ties that he wants to pur­sue.

The Rock­ets made big player news with the free agent sign­ing of one of the best point guards in the league in Chris Paul and signed James Har­den to a new deal that will pay him $228 mil­lion over six years.

Getty Images

Les Alexan­der has owned the Hous­ton Rock­ets since 1993.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.