Rockets Owner: Title Window ‘Next Three or Four Years’

Rockets team owner Tilman Fertitta believes his team has an NBA championship window in the “next three or four years” to win it all.

Otherwise, “we probably aren’t going to win one in the next 10 years,” says Fertitta.

Fertitta adds that newcomer Russell Westbrook‘s athleticism is an element Houston was “a little short on,” and is confident he can happily co-exist with fellow superstar teammate James Harden.

Per Yahoo Sports:

“I think we put ourselves in the position that if we don’t win it in the next three or four years, we probably aren’t going to win one in the next 10 years,” Fertitta told Yahoo Sports in an interview to promote his debut book titled “Shut Up And Listen,” which hits all major bookstores on Tuesday. “This is our window, and we need to seize the opportunity.”

The Texas billionaire, who is also sole owner of Fertitta Entertainment, the restaurant giant Landry’s and the Golden Nugget Casinos and Hotels, is running his NBA team in the same manner as his other business ventures: audaciously and unwavering.

“This is the time,” Fertitta told Yahoo Sports. “I just re-signed Eric Gordon who is 30 and I’ve got Russell and James and Eric and Clint Capela for the next four years. P.J. [Tucker] is 34 and our two stars are 30. So this is their window. Let’s seize the opportunity.”

Fertitta says he was never concerned about bringing in another ball-dominant guard to pair with Harden.

“No, because I can remember watching Russell Westbrook against us a couple of times last year and I saw how he ran up and down that court and how his athleticism was so superior,” he told Yahoo Sports. “And I think it’s one of the things that we were a little short on.”

Related Rockets Owner: Russell Westbrook and James Harden ‘Wanted to Play Together’

The post Rockets Owner: Title Window ‘Next Three or Four Years’ appeared first on SLAM.

Russell Westbrook Says He and James Harden Will ‘Play Great Off the Ball’

Russell Westbrook is confident that he and fellow superstar teammate James Harden will happily co-exist in Houston next season.

Westbrook says the two dominant offensive machines are “great” at playing off the ball with one another.

Russ adds that he’ll bring a lot more to the table for the Rockets than just scoring and handling the rock.

Per The Athletic:

At the start of the offseason, Harden communicated to the front office that he liked the idea of playing with Westbrook, league sources told The Athletic.

“I think we play great off the ball with each other,” Westbrook told The Athletic.

“We’ve done it in Oklahoma City. Many times in Oklahoma City, James, he closed the game as the primary ball-handler, and I played off the ball. It’s totally fine for me because, like I have said before, offensively and scoring and having the ball in my hands is not the only thing I can do for the game. I do a lot of great things for the game and I look forward to doing that with this team as well.”

Team sources have expressed confidence in that Westbrook and Harden will both implement more off-ball movement into their games, particularly in a half-court setting, and were pleased with Westbrook’s comments during his introductory press conference.

Related James Harden: ‘I Know How to Play With Russ and He Knows How to Play With Me’

The post Russell Westbrook Says He and James Harden Will ‘Play Great Off the Ball’ appeared first on SLAM.

Chris Clemons Back With Rockets On Training Camp Deal

Houston has converted Chris Clemons’ original deal to a two-way contract, ended that contract, and re-signed him to a standard deal that includes both Exhibit 9 and 10, as Keith Smith of Yahoo! Sports relays.

As we recently detailed, Exhibit 9 on a contract reduces the team’s liability in case of injury. Teams can only add this language to contract once they reach 14 players under contract. Houston did not reach that threshold when they originally inked the 22-year-old guard to a deal back in July, so they were unable to include the language in the contract. The franchise has since filled out its roster, so it was able to conduct the series of moves to add in the provision.

The Rockets proceeded similarly with the deals of Williams McDowell-White and Shamorie Ponds last week. The pair, along with Clemons, will compete for the Rockets’ two-way contracts. Each player could end up in the G League should they not make the NBA roster.

The post Chris Clemons Back With Rockets On Training Camp Deal appeared first on SLAM.

William McDowell-White’s Rockets Deal Converted To Two-Way

William McDowell-White

The Houston Rockets have converted Australian export William McDowell-White’s training camp deal into a two-way contract, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reports. The 21-year-old will join Shamorie Ponds, plying his trade for the franchise’s big league squad and their G League affiliate.

McDowell-White suited up for Fresno State during the 2016-17 season but has bounced between German and Australian league’s ever since. He declared as an early entrant for the 2018 NBA Draft but ultimately withdrew to try again in 2019.

McDowell-White played sparingly for the Rockets during summer league in Las Vegas, averaging just eight minutes per game across four contests.

The post William McDowell-White’s Rockets Deal Converted To Two-Way appeared first on SLAM.

Rockets Convert Shamorie Ponds’ Deal Into Two-Way

Shamorie Ponds of the St. John's Red Storm

The Houston Rockets have converted Shamorie Ponds’ training camp deal into a two-way contract, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reports.That means the St. John’s product will stick with the franchise when rosters condense before opening day of the regular season.

Ponds went undrafted last June but was a fringe first-round talent heading into the draft and will bolster Houston’s G League affiliate in Rio Grande Valley. Of course he’ll also get 45 days with the big league squad, without counting toward the team’s overall payroll.

Ponds averaged 19.7 points and 5.1 assists in his junior season with the Red Storm and could conceivably convince the Rockets to convert his two-way deal into a standard contract at some point during the season given that Houston has just ten players on guaranteed deals at this point.

For now, however, Ponds will occupy one of the team’s two-way slots, the other occupied by William McDowell-White, another training camp deal signee that Houston elected to promote into a two-way player.

The post Rockets Convert Shamorie Ponds’ Deal Into Two-Way appeared first on SLAM.