Tilman Fertitta: Rockets Haven't Had Any Pay Cuts, Layoffs amid COVID-19

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistMay 1, 2020

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Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta is downplaying any speculation about his financial struggles amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

Speaking to The Athletic's Sam Amick, Fertitta supported his point by noting the Rockets haven't laid off or cut salary for any of their employees, while other NBA teams have done both. 

"Absolutely not one," he said. "We've had no pay cuts. We didn't apply for any funds within the Rockets, governmental or anything."

Fertitta's financial stability has been a heavy topic of discussion since the NBA suspended its season on March 11. 

Per  of Bloomberg, one-third of Fertitta's net worth, estimated at $5 billion, "evaporated" due to the pandemic because his businesses—primarily casinos and restaurants—have had to shut down for the time being. 

"We are trying to survive," Fertitta told Scigliuzzo. "I have enough liquidity to ride this out. I can't go forever but I can go for a few months."

Fertitta's non-Rockets businesses furloughed 40,000 employees in March. 

The Utah Jazz announced last month they were laying off "a small percentage" of its workforce. 

Per Nancy Sarnoff and Paul Takahashi of the Houston Chronicle, the 62-year-old Fertitta recently took out a $300 million loan at a 13 percent interest rate. 

Despite those outside concerns, the Texas native told Amick the Rockets operate "in a silo" separate from his other ventures. He purchased the franchise in September 2017 for $2.2 billion, the highest sale price for an NBA team ever. 

Bleacher Report's David Gardner interviews athletes and other sports figures for the podcast How to Survive Without Sports.