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[Chron] Owner prefers to build Rockets, as opposed to seeking quick fix

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by Manila, Oct 3, 2006.

  1. Manila

    Manila Member

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    Oct. 2, 2006, 11:41PM
    Alexander's confidence reflects new strategy
    Owner prefers to build Rockets, as opposed to seeking quick fix


    By JONATHAN FEIGEN
    Copyright 2006 Houston Chronicle

    As always, Leslie Alexander preferred to talk about basketball.

    He acknowledged that so much of the Rockets organization would seem at a crossroads. Eventually, he will choose a new team president or CEO. A new general manager, Daryl Morey, will be in place after the season. Coach Jeff Van Gundy is heading into the final guaranteed season of his contract.

    There are marketing efforts to energize the attendance. Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady are going into their third season together as the core of the Rockets' hopes. More than half the roster has been retooled since the end of last season.


    Talking basketball
    But as much as Alexander loves to talk about hoops, his 13-year tenure as Rockets owner, from the heights of consecutive championships to last season's slide to the lottery, have shown it comes back to the court.
    "There's a lot of X's and O's that have to be put together in the whole organization," Alexander said. "Let's talk basketball. We were one of the oldest teams in the league. Obviously, the injuries prevented us from showing what we could do. Now we have a pretty young team. It's going to be very interesting to see how all this new talent blends together and how long it takes."

    He insisted he believes McGrady remains an elite player and Van Gundy is "a championship-caliber coach." But Alexander did not approach the levels of hyperbole of his past, falling short of promising "multiple championships," as he did when he signed McGrady to a long-term contract or acquired Scottie Pippen in a sign-and-trade.

    He described the luxury tax as the Rockets' hard cap. He said he is more confident in his unorthodox choice of Morey than when he hired him as an assistant general manager to succeed Carroll Dawson as GM. And he said he temporarily has assumed some of the day-to-day CEO duties without a timetable to choose George Postolos' successor.

    Still, as the Rockets report for today's physicals and first team meeting, so much about the franchise seems in flux.

    But Alexander does not consider having Van Gundy in his last guaranteed season (he has an additional non-guaranteed season on his contract) to be among the Rockets' issues.

    "I think Jeff is a championship-caliber coach," Alexander said. "He's a very good coach, obviously. Not just Jeff, everybody has to prove themselves. We'll address that at the end of the season."

    Van Gundy said he was unconcerned with any potential uncertainty after this season and did not expect his contract to be revisited after the Rockets struggled through an injury-filled, 34-win season.

    "I'm fine," Van Gundy said. "I think people get extensions where there is a satisfaction with what you've done. Coming off last year, there is not a satisfaction with what I've done. It's not something I think about."

    That comes back to the performance of the team. Van Gundy and Alexander expect a bounce-back season.

    "Probably in between searching for hype and criticism is where the truth lies," Van Gundy said. "I think our team has a quiet confidence. We expect to play well. It really is that simple."


    Patient approach
    But Alexander offered a radical departure from his familiar impatient search for instant success, speaking of the changes in the sort of roster the Rockets put together, with an emphasis on youth, and in the approach to building it.
    Even with the addition of Bonzi Wells, 30, and the trading of a draft pick for Shane Battier, 27, Alexander said he has stopped looking for the instant fix that has marked his tenure.

    "We did the Clyde Drexler trade, and that got us a second championship," he said. "That became a model. If we could bring another guy in, the same quality of superstar, we could do the same thing again. We brought Charles (Barkley) in. We might have won a championship. We brought Scottie in and thought we might do the same thing. That turned out not to be the case for a couple of reasons. It didn't work and left us without a lot of talent.

    "I wanted to be an owner who could win every year, who would not go through down times. I thought we found the magic potion with Clyde because it worked so well. It turned out it wasn't really magic. It's was great to have Charles. It was a lot of fun. It was great for the city, great for us, great for everybody."

    That model led to the trade for McGrady, then more transactions than any other team made in each of the past two seasons. So rather than seeking the one player to solve everything, the Rockets hoped to build a roster that could grow.

    "His philosophy, no doubt about it, is to be risk takers, and we always have been," Dawson said. "Making the Drexler trade. Making the Barkley trade. Going for Steve Francis. Making the Tracy McGrady trade. A lot of times they are chances. We felt good about all of them.

    "His philosophy is just to win. Leslie Alexander is in the business for the right reasons. He enjoys owning a team, wants to compete, wants to win and wants to give back. That's about it."

    Alexander, 63, never has been interested in fame. Fortune seems assured. Forbes magazine recently listed him among the 400 wealthiest Americans, worth $1.2 billion.

    Alexander would not comment on that report but has said he enjoys being Rockets owner more than ever. He said his insistence the Rockets not pay a luxury tax is about "fiscal responsibility" for the good of the NBA and future decision-making.

    "If I'm offered a great, great player, I'll talk about (exceeding the luxury tax threshold of $65.42 million)," Alexander said. "I'm not going to pay the tax for just an ordinary player."


    Good fiscal sense
    Still, a slide in attendance has offered more reasons to be careful about spending. The Rockets drew an average of 15,515 to Toyota Center last season to rank 27th in the NBA, though gate receipts place the team closer to the middle.
    "Do I think basketball can be a successful business in Houston?" Alexander said. "I definitely think it can be what it once was. You don't build a basketball business up in one year. If we have a great season on the court, I think it will improve dramatically."

    With that, he brought it back to the basketball, over which he does not quite gush as he has before. But Alexander sounded nearly as hopeful.

    "The outlook looks terrific," he said. "I think we're much more talented. I like the way it looks."

    jonathan.feigen@chron.com
     
  2. Manila

    Manila Member

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  3. Kim

    Kim Contributing Member

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    Good Article

    This also confirms my suspicion that the Rockets won't use their 4.2million TE unless someone absolutely great comes along. While it wouldn't put them over the luxury level this year, it would impede them from using their MLE next offseason w/o going into luxury tax land.
     
  4. hooroo

    hooroo Member

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    I'm guessing the Rocks are around 62 mil at the moment and possibly around 63 mil if they waive rybo in favour of padgett.
     
  5. hooroo

    hooroo Member

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    I forgot to deduct Ward's salary, so just minus 1.5 mil from the above figures.
     
  6. TBar

    TBar Contributing Member

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    I do not think Charlie Ward comes off the books until after this year. Also-if Ryan Bowen is cut-his salary still counts against the cap I think.
     
  7. aussie rocket

    aussie rocket Member

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    your certainly right about Bowen. and that makes me :mad:

    if we had the leeway to cut him and get the 1mil he's earning this season back on our cap, it would allow more money plus an extra roster spot to take on a big man.

    hey off topic but I noticed Rick Brunson is on the Sixers players list?? I obviously missed something there. :confused:
     
  8. Deuce

    Deuce Context & Nuance

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    Just want to post this quote again as we always seem to come back to it, especially near the trading deadline and the offseason.

    If Alexander has a chance to get an All-Star player to put this team 'over the top' (even if it pushes us into LT land) he is going to do it. But he isn't going to go over the LT to sign guys to full MLE or things like that.
     
  9. smoothie

    smoothie Contributing Member
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    i agree with him on that. there is no reason to paint yourself into a corner with bad contracts. short term deal or "value" deals are allways easy to move if things don't work out. the only players you should get "stuck" with are the one you will always want to keep (yao/tmac/3rd allstar les is talking about).
     
  10. jeremyang2002

    jeremyang2002 Contributing Member

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    Then we'd like to see if you are going to lure Billups/Bibby here next summer.
     
  11. awo86

    awo86 Rookie

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    http://www.dfw.com/mld/startelegram/news/state/15670426.htm

    Alexander seemed bullish about the rocket's chances of success.

    "If we're healthy, we're going to be a terrific team," Alexander said Tuesday, after the revamped Rockets had their first practice. "I think we'll go deep in the playoffs. I think we'll have one of the top seeds, and we'll see from there."

    Hopefully, that means he'll invest more money and allow the rockets to go over the cap if we have a shot at the title.
     
  12. hooroo

    hooroo Member

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    that'd suck. it would require a s&t where the rockets would have to give up more than they receive in picks and players, ie rocks in re-building mode again.
     
  13. ico4498

    ico4498 Member
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    "Owner prefers to build Rockets, as opposed to seeking quick fix"

    uh-huh ...

    Les must've hired the Chronicle as the Rockets PR department.

    How can you do that draft day trade if "quick fix" isn't the prevailing modus operandi?
     

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