Tilman Fertitta is in his first season as owner of the Houston Rockets after paying $2.2 billion for the franchise.
“The NBA is a tough business, No. 1,” Fertitta begins. “And you can go from making money to losing money very quickly. Everybody has to remember, I did pay $2.2 billion for this team. I didn't pay $80 million for it, okay? And I'm not worth $20 billion (his reported wealth is $4.3 billion), but I have no problem paying luxury tax if I truly think that it truly gives me the chance to win the championship next year, okay? But believe it or not, we're not in the luxury tax today and we truly have a chance to win the championship this year.”
The Rockets head into the All-Star break with the best record in the NBA.
“I could put the greatest team together in the world, and (the team) could become unhealthy and somebody else is healthy, and we lose,” Fertitta continued. “I think that you always have to be realistic enough that - however we plan things, that doesn't mean it's going to happen the way we want it to happen. And I can go put a team together (of stars), and be paying $150 million or $200 million in luxury tax, and a couple of guys get injured and I get my ass whipped.”
Daryl Morey and Fertitta have developed a positive working relationship so far.
“It’s been fantastic; very smooth,” said Morey. “Plus, Tillman’s come in and already pushing us to do more things different ways – different ways we can invest to win, different ways we can upgrade things for players. He’s part of the planning process. It’s been great.
“We’ve talked through (the luxury tax). We’re going to be in the tax next year, and…nothing’s going to hold him back from putting together a championship team. He obviously has the money; he just paid the highest amount ever for a team.”