Tilman Fertitta Says Luxury Tax Not Influencing Rockets: 'Never Even Came Up'

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistJuly 10, 2018

HOUSTON, TX - MAY 24: Tilman Fertitta, owner of the Houston Rockets, address the crowd before Game Five of the Western Conference Finals against the Golden State Warriors during the 2018 NBA Playoffs on May 24, 2018 at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images)
Bill Baptist/Getty Images

Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta said Monday the NBA's luxury tax hasn't played a role in the team's offseason decision-making.

Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com provided comments from Fertitta, who purchased the Rockets from Leslie Alexander in September, after the free-agent departures of Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute.

"We know we're going to be in the luxury tax, and if you want to compete for a championship, I feel like unless you get real lucky, you're going to be in the luxury tax," he said. "So it is what it is. ... It never even came up in any discussion."

Houston signed star point guard Chris Paul to a four-year, $160 million max contract at the start of free agency earlier this month.

The team's other moves so far this offseason have been of the minor variety, including the re-signing of Gerald Green and the addition of Michael Carter-Williams.

Along with the notable exits of Ariza and Mbah a Moute, the Rockets still haven't reached an agreement with restricted free agent Clint Capela. Kelly Iko of USA Today reported the center isn't happy with the franchise because of a "major difference in valuation."

Nevertheless, Fertitta told MacMahon he's optimistic about the team's outlook after falling just short against the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference Finals last season.

"We feel like we were a Chris Paul injury away from being in the Finals, and we feel really good about this year," he said. "I think come opening night, I think everybody's going to be really impressed with the team that we have on the floor."

Head coach Mike D'Antoni added, "Obviously, losing Trevor and losing Luc, it's going to hurt. You don't replace that, but we'll figure it out. ... There's different ways to go. We're going to be good. Like Chris is saying, we're going to run it back at Golden State. We'll see. We'll be ready."

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported the Rockets met with Oklahoma City Thunder star forward Carmelo Anthony in Las Vegas with the blessing of OKC, which is trying to handle its own luxury-tax issues by trading or buying out Melo before next season.

Meanwhile, OddsShark noted the Rockets remain third in the betting lines (as of July 9) for the 2019 NBA title (+600) behind only the Warriors (-175) and Boston Celtics (+550).

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