Dikembe Mutombo Putting Group Together to Purchase Houston Rockets

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistJuly 19, 2017

Dikembe Mutombo arrives at the NBA Awards at Basketball City at Pier 36 on Monday, June 26, 2017, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)
Evan Agostini/Associated Press

NBA Hall of Famer Dikembe Mutombo is trying to put together a group to purchase the Houston Rockets, according to Mark Berman of Fox 26.

"I'm working on it," Mutombo said. "I'm talking to a lot of people already since [Monday]. We'll see. I'm just talking to the people who can cut the check and they can make me be part of it. I'm working on that."

The former Rockets center added: "A lot of people think it's a great thing. It's a great opportunity. Now it's just a question of the number. There's going to be a lot of discussion and a lot of cash. I missed my opportunity two years ago with the Atlanta Hawks."

The Hawks were sold in 2015 to an ownership group led by principal owner Tony Ressler. At the time, Mutombo was interested in joining a group of investors to make a bid for the team, per Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

On Monday, Houston owner Leslie Alexander announced he would be selling the Rockets.

"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," he said in his announcement. "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."

Under Alexander, the Rockets won two titles and reached the postseason 16 times. The organization's worth went from $85 million in 1993, when Alexander purchased it, to a valuation around $2 billion now, per Jerome Solomon of the Houston Chronicle

The Rockets are currently headlined by two superstars in James Harden and Chris Paul and feature one of the NBA's most exciting styles of play under head coach Mike D'Antoni. The next owner or ownership group will acquire a franchise in excellent shape. 

Mutombo acknowledged as much.

"It's like someone who's already sitting on the runway trying to take off," he noted. "That's what kind of team the Rockets are right now. The Rockets are a great franchise. They have a great team. They've got great coaches, great basketball players, great staff. Whoever is coming in, it's not like they're going to have to rebuild it."

"It's one of the best franchises right now," he added. "It's really the right time."