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.

Eric Gordon and the Rockets have agreed to a 4-year, $76M maximum contract extension.

Eric Gordon and the Houston Rockets have agreed to a four-year, $76M maximum contract extension.

He will get 3-years, $54.5M guaranteed on his extension, per source, starting with the 2020-2021 season – $16.9M, $18.2M, and $19.6M. 

The 4th season is non-guaranteed and that would earn him $20.9M.

This makes Rockets’ 2020-21 season payroll a hefty one at $116.2M total! In the 2020-21 season, the Rockets will owe Russell Westbrook $41M, James Harden $40.8M, Clint Capel $17.5M, and now Eric Gordon $16.9M.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander: ‘I Am Not Russell Westbrook’

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, in his first chat with the OKC press Thursday, was quick to point out that he is not in fact Russell Westbrook.

The 21-year-old deftly handled the inevitable questions about succeeding the Thunder legend following their blockbuster trade this summer, and said he is determined to build his own legacy.

Gilgeous-Alexander, along with new teammates Chris Paul and Dennis Schroder, will headline a backcourt that won’t feature Westbrook for the first time in 11 seasons.

Per The Oklahoman:

Gilgeous-Alexander smiled and said he could compete with Westbrook’s fashion sense. He also deflected any notion of pressure to live up to the legacy of the 2016-17 Most Valuable Player. “He set the bar pretty high,” Gilgeous-Alexander said.

In his first meeting with the media Thursday, you wouldn’t have tabbed Gilgeous-Alexander as a player coming off a Second Team All-Rookie season as a 20-year-old starter for a 48-win playoff team.

“I am not Russell Westbrook,” Gilgeous-Alexander said with no malice. “I do not have the same name, same body type, stuff like that. So, I’m just going to try to be myself and be the best me and everything else will take care of itself.

“I’m just a basketball player. Regardless of the situation, I’m going to continue to work hard and play my game. I know that eventually it will come out. I don’t worry about starting. I’m not worried about accolades or things like that. I just work hard, keep my head down and (stay) true to who I am.”

Related Thunder GM: ‘Russell Westbrook is the Most Important Player’ in Franchise History

The post Shai Gilgeous-Alexander: ‘I Am Not Russell Westbrook’ appeared first on SLAM.

PJ Tucker: ‘It’s Time for My Extension Right Now’

PJ Tucker is “optimistic” about re-upping in Houston.

“It’s time for my extension right now,” says the 34-year-old veteran forward.

Tucker adds that he’s confident the Rockets will smoothly transition from Chris Paul to newcomer Russell Westbrook next season.

Per The Athletic:

“We lost a great player, we got a great player,” Tucker said. “We got a lot of guys back. We still got a core of our team. You know, it is what it is. It’s the NBA, changes are made. All you do is look at yourself and your teammates, keep your eyes on the next season and try to go after it, so now I plan to do that this year.”

“I’ma do what I do, man. I’ll help Russ in any way I can. I’m gonna be one of the leaders on the team, (especially) defensively. I’m just gonna do me, I’m gonna do what I do every single night to the best of my ability.”

As far as his long-term future with Houston, both Tucker and the team want him to stick around. This season is the last fully guaranteed year he has on the four-year, $32 million deal he signed in 2016. With 2020-21 only partially guaranteed, Tucker wants his future sorted out sooner, rather than later.

“It’s now,” he said of getting a new deal done. “It’s time for my extension right now, so we’ll see. We’ll see what happens. I’m optimistic, we’ll see.”

Related PJ Tucker: Rockets ‘Were a Hamstring Away from Having a Championship’

The post PJ Tucker: ‘It’s Time for My Extension Right Now’ appeared first on SLAM.