BREAKING: The Rockets have announced that longtime owner Leslie Alexander is putting the Houston Rockets up for sale.
Team CEO Tad Brown said Alexander would like to have more time for other pursuits.
“It can wear on you after decades. He’s tired,” says Brown of Alexander.
Brown will be “running the point” on finding a buyer, but it’s a big shock since Alexander has owned the team since 1993. He just extended the contracts of general manager Daryl Morey, superstar James Harden and added Chris Paul. The plan is to try to add Carmelo Anthony as well.
“It’s been my great joy and honor to own the Houston Rockets for the past 24 years,” said Alexander. “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.”
“The Houston community has been home to me; 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.”
Certainly from a franchise value standpoint, the Rockets’ value has soared over the last decade. Alexander bought the team for $85 million in 1993. Forbes recently ranked the Rockets as the 8th most valued franchise in the NBA, estimating its worth at $1.65 billion. Given that there are only 30 of these, the team will likely sell for more than that. Alexander may see this as a good time to maximize the value of his investment.
Alexander has been a terrific owner, largely unappreciated. He has always thought big, chasing superstars every season. While making sure he’s involved, he largely stays behind the scenes and lets his basketball people go to work. You never saw his ego get involved in battles with Mark Cuban or others.
To expect that in a new owner, one who will pay likely over $2,000,000,000, is probably expecting too much. Changes are coming.