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Houston Rockets sell for record $2.2 billion

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Update: The Rockets have announced the sale:

The Houston Rockets today announced that a definitive agreement has been signed for the purchase of the NBA franchise by Houston businessman Tilman J. Fertitta, sole owner of the Landry’s restaurant empire and Golden Nugget Casinos and Hotels. The transaction, which includes operation of the Toyota Center Arena, requires the approval of the NBA Board of Governors. Terms of the sale were not disclosed, and Mr. Fertitta has no other partners in connection with the transaction.

This process started back in July, and it is truly unfortunate that this announcement is occurring amidst the aftermath of one of the biggest tragedies in the history of our great City.

“I am truly honored to have been chosen as the next owner of the Houston Rockets.  This is a life-long dream come true,” said Fertitta, a native of Galveston and life-long resident of the Houston area.  “Leslie Alexander has been one of the best owners in all of sports, and I thank him immensely for this opportunity. He has the heart of a champion.    Lastly, out of respect for the NBA’s approval process, I can say no more other than I am overwhelmed with emotion to have this opportunity in my beloved city of Houston.”

“I am excited to welcome and pass the torch to Tilman. He is a Houstonian, business leader and committed to the success and excellence of the Rockets both on and off the basketball court,” said Leslie Alexander, the current Rockets owner.  “I have personally known Tilman for over 24 years and don’t think I could have found anyone more capable of continuing the winning tradition of our Houston Rockets.”

 

In 2014, Steve Ballmer paid a stunning $2 billion to buy the Clippers.

That record price for an NBA franchise has been broken.

Marc Berman of Fox 26:

Scott Soshnick of Bloomberg

Leslie Alexander selling the Rockets surprised everyone. But apparently Tilman Fertitta wasn’t slow to react – to the benefit of Alexander, who bought the team for $85 million in 1993.

Fertitta – who owns Golden Nugget Casinos and Landry’s restaurant company and hosts “Billion Dollar Buyer” on CNBC – is worth $3.1 billion, per Forbes. So, it seems likely he’ll have other investors. Celebrities like Beyonce and Hakeem Olajuwon have expressed interest.

The Rockets have been one of the NBA’s best teams under Alexander, winning championships in 1994 and 1995, and he further ingrained himself with the community with his Hurricane Harvey-relief donations. The team locked in James Harden to the richest contract extension in NBA history. Chris Paul will be eligible for a five-year, $207 million max contract next summer, and starting center Clint Capela will also be a free agent. With expensive but not easily movable Ryan Anderson still under contract, this team could get expensive in a hurry.

After years of steady leadership from Alexander, we’ll quickly learn Fertitta’s ownership style.

Spurs’ pick Chimezie Metu to miss time with fractured wrist

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Chimezie Metu showed some promise in the Summer League games he played for San Antonio, scoring 12.5 points a game on 55 percent shooting in Las Vegas, and 10.7 per game on 54 percent shooting in Salt Lake City. The second round pick of the Spurs (No. 49 overall) is raw and needs a lot of development, but he can get buckets. The potential is there.

That development is going to be on hold a while, as what was thought to be a sprained wrist has turned out to be a fracture.

From Tom Osborn of the San Antonio Express-News.

After an examination Saturday, the Spurs medical staff downgraded second-round pick Chimezie Metu’s left wrist injury from a sprain to a fracture, a league source said Saturday.

Metu was injured late in the Spurs’ 95-90 win over Washington on July 8 at the Las Vegas Summer League, when he landed awkwardly after leaping to catch a lob pass at the rim. The 6-foot-10 big man finished the game but was sidelined for the remainder of the schedule.

After undergoing X-rays at the Thomas & Mack Center, Metu was diagnosed with a sprain. But Spurs’ team doctors suspected a possible fracture, which was confirmed after Metu returned to San Antonio on Saturday.

Metu should be good to go by training camp. Metu is hoping his summer and training camp play will earn him a roster spot, although the Spurs tend not to sign second-round picks the year they were drafted (they tend to let them spend a year or two in the G-League or in Europe). A lot of his chances on making the roster depend on any other moves the Spurs make this summer and what their roster looks like come the fall.

French NBA stars (and others) react to France World Cup win

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For the second time in it’s history, France is the World Cup champion.

Celebrations erupted all over France, and in French enclaves around the world — and the celebrations spilled over to social media. NBA players from France were posting their joy, as you’d expect.

Other NBA players, international and domestic, also were in on the party.

Even some NBA teams got in on the online congratulations party.

Watch best of Wendell Carter Jr. at Summer League

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I will own my mistake: Coming into the NBA Draft I was not high on Wendell Carter Jr., particularly how well he would defend at the NBA level.

I missed on that one — he has impressed me and everyone else in Las Vegas at Summer League. While nobody should ever read too much into Summer League perormances, he has shown potential on both ends of the court. Check out his highlights above

His offensive game is everything that was advertised — versatile and polished. He has nailed turnarounds in the post, can score with either hand, has a jump shot with real range, and he is a smart and willing passer. Defensively he has been physical, works hard and uses his athleticism to be dispruptive.

We will see how he fares against NBA-level competition (and how he pairs with Jabari Parker and the rest of the Bulls frontcourt), but the work ethic and tools are there. The Bulls may have something in Carter Jr.

Stephen Curry nailing putts, doing shimmy at American Century Championship

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If there’s one thing Stephen Curry loves as much as draining a 28-foot three over the outstretched arms of a defender, it’s golf. Curry is a golf fanatic.

Which is why he never misses — and always has fun at — the American Century Championship celebrity golf tournament in Lake Tahoe. And when he makes a putt, he will do a little shimmy, as you can see above.

Curry is currently tied for 19th in the tournament. The highest NBA player on the leaderboard is retired sharpshooter Ray Allen at seventh, and on top of the leaderboard heading into the final day is San Jose Sharks captain Joe Pavelski.

You can watch the final round live on NBC at 3 ET Sunday.

Here’s Curry and his father Dell talking a little golf and family.

And here is Curry talking a little golf before the tournament.