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Donald Trump: Daryl Morey 'Must Be Pretty Good' GM To Still Have His Job

May 18, 2020 8:54 PM

During a roundtable discussion at the White House with President Donald Trump on Monday, Tilman Fertitta talked about the "devastating" economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and then referenced Daryl Morey's tweet expressing support for Hong Kong.

"I should've realized that it was going to be a bad year for China when my general manager tweeted out, you know, 'Freedom for Hong Kong,'" Fertitta said. "That started my year."

Trump told Fertitta that Morey "did cause you a little ruckus," and asked if Morey still worked for the Rockets.

Despite pressure from Chinese officials, Fertitta has never wavered on Morey's job security. On the night of Morey's tweet, which was quickly deleted, Fertitta told ESPN that the Rockets did not have political leanings and distanced from Morey's tweet but said that he was "the best general manager" in the league and would continue in his role.

Trump quipped: "He must be pretty good."

Replied Fertitta: "It's a trick question, but he is."

Tim MacMahon/ESPN

Tags: Houston Rockets, NBA

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Tilman Fertitta Discusses NBA's Hope To Resume Season During White House Meeting

May 18, 2020 8:51 PM

During a roundtable discussion with restaurant executives and industry leaders at the White House, Tilman Fertitta was questioned about the possibility of the NBA resuming its season by President Donald Trump.

"I think what they're doing is waiting to see what happens in certain states and if we're going to be able to play," Fertitta said when Trump asked what would happen with basketball, meaning the NBA. "Making sure the virus continues to go in the right direction in the next few weeks. And I think that if things are going in the way that it's going, I think the NBA, the commissioner Adam Silver, who has done an unbelievable job through this, and the 30 owners will make the decision to try to start the season up again."

Trump followed up with a more direct question: "Will you finish the season or not?"

"I think that there's talk about finishing the season playing X number of games," Fertitta said. "The players need to play to get paid, and right now they're taking a 25% pay cut. They own 50% of our revenue, unlike the other sports. And so they want that revenue, even if it's not the people-in-the-stands revenue, so they can get paid."

Trump then asked if the NBA will resume the regular season or immediately begin the playoffs.

"I think that we would play some games just to get it going again and create interest and then go right into the playoffs," Fertitta said. "But I think it'll be great for America. We're all missing sports and everybody wants to see these great NBA teams."

Tim MacMahon/ESPN

Tags: Houston Rockets, NBA

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Rockets To Reopen Practice Facilities On Monday

May 16, 2020 1:30 PM

The Houston Rockets are set to reopen their practice facilities on Monday.

Several other teams, including the Blazers, Nuggets, and Cavs, opened their facilities last week.

The Lakers will reportedly open their facilities on Saturday.

Daryl Morey/Rockets

Tags: Houston Rockets, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

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Tom Thibodeau Says He's Been Visiting Teams, Studying Evolution Of League

May 9, 2020 1:17 PM

Tom Thibodeau told First Take that he's been visiting several NBA teams and studying the modern evolution of the league since getting fired as head coach during the 2018-19 season.

Thibodeau said that he's figuring out ways to combine load management with up-to-date sports science.

"My experience this past year in going around and visiting a number of different teams and seeing it -- and it's been evolving this way for probably the last three or four years -- there's different ways to manage practice. There's load management, there's sports scientists, there's situations in which your young guys are practicing a little bit more and your older vets are doing less and you're separating the two, and you're bringing them in toward the end of practice to do whatever needs to be done to prepare for that next game.

So I think utilizing all the resources that you now have, understanding how to use them, how to manage that, has become critical. I think player care, player wellness, those things are prioritized. I think the big thing is, what does it take to be successful in the playoffs?" said Thibodeau.

Thibodeau has been linked with the Knicks, Nets, and Rockets head coaching positions.

"They're just rumors an that's what it is. And this time of year, everything is on hold. Normally you would have some openings and right now there aren't any openings. So you don't want to speculate on what jobs could open." 

Ian Begley/SNY.tv

Tags: Houston Rockets, New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets, NBA, NBA Misc Rumor

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Mike D'Antoni Has No Reservations About Coaching Amid COVID-19

May 7, 2020 1:44 PM

Mike D'Antoni would have no reservations about being on the sideline if the NBA season resumes despite his age increasing the risk of severe illness or death from COVID-19.

D'Antoni is the league's second-oldest at the age of 69. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said that adults over age 65 are at higher risk of severe or fatal complications from coronavirus.

D'Antoni plans to take precautions such as wearing a mask. D'Antoni also has faith in Adam Silver and the league office to create as safe an environment as possible.

Tim MacMahon/ESPN

Tags: Houston Rockets, NBA

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Jeff Van Gundy Could Become Candidate For Rockets' Head Coaching Job

May 6, 2020 12:45 PM

Mike D'Antoni is widely expected to not return to the Houston Rockets as head coach next season, which has led to speculation about who could eventually replace him. This week, Marc Berman of the New York Post reported that the Rockets could join the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets in pursuing Tom Thibodeau.

"The Thibs thing landed strangely with me," said Sam Amick of The Athletic on the Brodie and the Beard podcast.

"Jeff Van Gundy's name is the one that I have heard consistently as a very possible replacement for Mike," said Amick.

"It's interesting to see Thibs' name in there now because you've got a guy who was Jeff's top assistant when Jeff was the Rockets' coach. And a guy who, in terms of like the optics around Tom, it has been a bit of a rollercoaster the past couple of years. He was labeled, essentially, like kind of a dinosaur who was too tough on his players and did not assimilate with today's NBA during the end of that Minnesota stay. But I think Jimmy Butler going off to Miami. Jimmy Butler continuing to vouch for Thibs in interviews. Jimmy Butler continuing to tell the world that Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins and company were the problem and not the coach. I think that could possibly resonate with owners, with GMs. Maybe you have a little more of an appetite for this tough love style.

"Van Gundy and Thibs being from the same tree, whatever happens next, I think you're starting to get a sense of what might be prioritized. Obviously defense first. Discipline."

Amck also suggested former Rockets' owner Les Alexander played a role in firing Van Gundy and also choosing D'Antoni over Van Gundy in 2016.

Sam Amick/The Athletic

Tags: Houston Rockets, NBA, NBA Misc Rumor

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Nets, Rockets To Join Knicks In Pursuit Of Tom Thibodeau

May 4, 2020 8:56 PM

The Brooklyn Nets and Houston Rockets are expected to join the New York Knicks in pursuing Tom Thibodeau this offseason.

The Nets fired Kenny Atkinson in March, while the Rockets are widely expected to part ways with Mike D'Antoni.

Thibodeau would have interest in any of the three jobs, but the Knicks are expected to be in the lead as they can pursue him before the Nets and Rockets as they won't be in the playoffs.

The Minnesota Timberwolves fired Thibodeau in January of 2019.

Marc Berman/New York Post

Tags: Houston Rockets, New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets, NBA, NBA Misc Rumor

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Tilman Fertitta: Rockets Sitting On A Huge Revolver And A Bunch Of Cash Right Now

May 1, 2020 11:59 AM

There has been speculation on the financial solvency of Tilman Fertitta due to COVID-19 as he paid a record $2.2 billion for the Houston Rockets in September 2017 and owns a number of restaurants impacted by the pandemic. 

“The Rockets would never be sold, unless the whole world came to an end and then it wouldn’t matter, ok?” said Fertitta to Sam Amick of The Athletic“If I ever sell the Rockets, it’s because we don’t exist anymore as a country with the rule of law. We’re having anarchy in the street, and at that point there’s no buyers.

“There’s a reason that I made it through the ’87 financial crisis, and 2000, and the 2007 (recession), because I’ve always kept so much liquidity. It’s just like me borrowing $300 million a few weeks ago (at a steep rate of 13 percent, according to The Houston Chronicle), when I was able to do it when nobody else could at first. …Why not buy even more insurance? I have a huge amount of liquidity, and a lot of different sources of income. I’m not happy right now (with the financial impact), but I haven’t taken an equity partner, I didn’t have to give up warrants to borrow money. …”

Fertitta has zero interest in selling any minority ownership stakes.

“I don’t need partners so I don’t have partners,” he said. “There’s just no interest in having partners. I think all owners would love not to have partners, but not all teams financially can do that. I have the opportunity that me and my family can own this team 100 percent, and there’s no reason to ever change that.”

The Rockets have not had any layoffs or pay cuts due to COVID-19.

“Absolutely not one,” Fertitta said. “We’ve had no pay cuts. We didn’t apply for any funds within the Rockets, governmental or anything.”

The Rockets rank 13th in the NBA in payroll at $130 million.

“The Rockets have no problem,” he said. “The Rockets are sitting on a huge revolver and a bunch of cash right now. And the Rockets are able to build up cash because nobody has to take it out to live on.”

Sam Amick/The Athletic

Tags: Houston Rockets, NBA

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Rudy Tomjanovich Voted Into Basketball Hall Of Fame

Apr 3, 2020 8:50 PM

Rudy Tomjanovich has been voted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.

Tomjanovich led the Houston Rockets to the NBA title as head coach in 1994 and 1995. Tomjanovich was head coach from 1992 until 2003.

Tomjanovich also made five All-Star teams as a player.

Mark Berman/Fox Houston

Tags: Houston Rockets, NBA

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P.J. Tucker Announces Opening Of New Sneaker Store In Houston

Mar 22, 2020 4:19 PM

P.J. Tucker announced that he will open a sneaker store in Houston during an Instagram Live Q&A.

"We're looking to do the grand opening in October. We've got a lot of dope collabs coming. We're going to have some fun with it, and I'm excited about that," said Tucker.

The location of the shop wasn't announced, though Tucker did reveal The Better Generation handle on Instagram.

Tucker recently renewed his sneaker deal with Nike.

"I've never wanted my own [signature] shoe. Even when I was a free agent and trying to sign with companies, when they were trying to sell me to get my own shoe, I was like, 'I don't want to do that.' I've never wanted to be locked in on one shoe," said Tucker.

Nick DePaula/ESPN

Tags: P.J. Tucker, Houston Rockets, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

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Knicks, Rockets, Pacers Expressed Reservations About Playing Games Without Fans

Adrian Wojnarowski/ESPN

Rockets Host Luc Mbah A Moute For Workout

Kelly Iko/The Athletic

Mike D'Antoni, Mike Budenholzer Named NBA's Coaches Of The Month

RealGM Staff Report

Russell Westbrook After 41-Point Game Versus Celtics: 'I Think I'm Moving In The Right Direction'

Tim MacMahon/ESPN

Giannis Antetokounmpo On James Harden Comments: 'My Game Is Not Just Power'

Eric Woodyard/ESPN

RealGM Radio: Rob Mahoney On The Rockets, Zion And More

RealGM Staff Report

James Harden On Giannis: I Wish I Could Just Run, Be 7 Feet And Just Dunk

Rachel Nichols/ESPN

Jeff Green Signs With Rockets For Remainder Of 19-20 Season

Jordan Schultz/ESPN

Russell Westbrook On Being Guarded By Rudy Gobert: You Can't Scout For Speed

Tim MacMahon/ESPN

DeMarre Carroll Agrees To Buyout With Spurs

Adrian Wojnarowski, Tim MacMahon/ESPN

Rockets To Sign DeMarre Carroll, Jeff Green

Adrian Wojnarowski/ESPN

Rockets To Guarantee PJ Tucker Contract For 2020-21 Season

Shams Charania/The Athletic

Rockets Targeted DeAndre Jordan Before Trade Deadline

Adrian Wojnarowski/ESPN

Rockets Trade Jordan Bell To Grizzlies For Bruno Caboclo

Adrian Wojnarowski/ESPN

Rockets Nearing Trade For Center

Kelly Iko/The Athletic

Rockets, Wolves, Nuggets, Hawks Agree To Trade Involving Clint Capela, Robert Covington

Adrian Wojnarowski/ESPN

Warriors Seeking Unprotected 2021 First Round Pick In D'Angelo Russell-Andrew Wiggins Deal

Kevin O'Connor/The Ringer

Andrew Wiggins Likely Would Need To Be Included In Any Trade For D'Angelo Russell

Adrian Wojnarowski/ESPN

Nets Declined Rockets' Offer Of Clint Capela For Jarrett Allen, Taurean Prince

Kevin O'Connor/The Ringer

Hawks, Rockets, Wolves Discuss Clint Capela, Robert Covington Three-Way Trade

Kevin O'Connor/The Ringer