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[Chron] Rockets going after Howard AND Paul

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by The Cat, Jun 9, 2013.

  1. Ziggy

    Ziggy 99ers STAND BY
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    Exceptional.
     
  2. OTMax

    OTMax Member

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    Thanks for that transcript! Lots of interesting bits, does this finally end the talk of Josh Smith potentially coming here when we strike out on Dwight?
     
  3. Ziggy

    Ziggy 99ers STAND BY
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    No, it subtly states that he is plan C. Like it's been all along. But I suppose it looks a lot less like package deal of Smith/Howard (although I never saw it that way in the first place, but some did). The 1&1 scenario (which I was crossing my fingers for) is perfectly acceptable and understandable.
     
  4. OTMax

    OTMax Member

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    How you figure that? He clearly states that if they strike out on Dwight and CP3, they will try to send players on Delfino type contract. Josh Smith is going for max money or maybe a little bit less but Rockets want to remain flexible.
     
  5. Clutch

    Clutch Administrator
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    Actually I thought it was quite wrong. It's BleacherReport, so you can start there (content farm -- no editor or quality control), but even given that, when you publish this:

    ... then your steps are fatally flawed. This fan treats the apron like the only line the Rockets would have to get under to work a sign-and-trade and doesn't even consider cap room or salary matching rules anymore. Yes, if you're under the cap then salary matching rules don't apply if you can absorb that salary (as long as you finish no more than $100K above the cap from the deal), but you can't trade OUT $500K and get BACK over $20M when you're less than $3M under the cap. It's a major, major flaw there.
     
  6. Ziggy

    Ziggy 99ers STAND BY
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    And that's what they will offer, and they'll live with it if he declines (hopefully). Smith is still a target. Outside of those 3 guys, it'll only be a secondary push. Not a focus.
     
  7. RocketPowerNick

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    Chris isn't leaving LA.
     
  8. betterhomesbytj

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    Why in the world would Josh Smith settle for a one year contract or even 2 year with a team option for the second..... that's r****ded. He could get at least 4years anywhere else he goes.
     
  9. RocketFan

    RocketFan Contributing Member

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    Never say never... I have a gut feeling that if he sees that Dwight Howard decides to come here, he will follow suit.

    I know its a longshot, but nothing is impossible either.
     
  10. betterhomesbytj

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    Josh Smith will NOT get the MAX Anywhere!
     
  11. pwnyxpress

    pwnyxpress Contributing Member

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    Haha yes I know what you mean. I had meant its sentiment (the idea of signing one outright, SnT for the other, etc.) was generally correct, but yeah, there were a ton of problems in the article. Bleacher report, what can ya do? lol
     
  12. J.R.

    J.R. Contributing Member

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    [ESPN the Magazine] Is signing Dwight Howard the next bold move for Houston Rockets owner Leslie Alexander?

    ON A SUNNY DAY in late May, Leslie Alexander, the Rockets' billionaire owner, sits in the living room of his towering wheel-and-spoke-shaped $18.3 million mansion in Southampton, N.Y. The sweeping space overlooks the Atlantic Ocean, but it is spare, with just a couple of idiosyncratic touches: a large photo of Marilyn Monroe ("I dated her," he jokes) and a small sculpture of a cat, fashioned out of auto parts, that he found in a French village.

    Alexander looks out at the waves crashing against the sand, just beyond his capacious deck and inground pool. What more could a man want? A month shy of his 70th birthday, Alexander, who was last estimated by Forbes to be worth $1.2 billion in 2006, doesn't need much. But for Houston, the team he's owned for 20 years and that hasn't won a title since the back-to-backs when he bought the franchise in July 1993, there is at least one person he covets. Neither Alexander nor anyone on his basketball staff would dare say the name for fear of a tampering fine from the league, but his first name rhymes with "might," and his last name starts with H, ends with D and includes "war" in the middle. (Despite their apparent carefulness, the Rockets did end up receiving a small fine for what the Houston Chronicle reported was a series of stories produced by the team's website that mentioned certain free agents.)

    That is why on June 30, the day the billionaire hits his next decade, he doesn't have a lavish event planned at his tony estate. Instead, he'll be having dinner with his Rockets management team. Conveniently, they'll be in Los Angeles, and when the clock strikes midnight on the East Coast, unrestricted free agents across the NBA will be allowed to start negotiating with clubs. If any maximum-contract free agents happen to be cruising through Hollywood at 9 p.m. Pacific time, Alexander won't mind if they stop by for some cake.

    It's no secret that the Rockets, along with the Mavs, are the whisper-circuit front-runners for the privilege of paying Dwight Howard the maximum of $87.6 million over the next four years. In Houston, the team has been carefully planning for this moment since at least last season: remaking the roster, plotting payroll cuts, letting players plant seeds this offseason. But the one thing the normally reclusive owner has rarely done is put himself out there. Most players, and most of his fellow owners, simply know him as well as he'll let them. Through two championships and four Hall of Famers (Hakeem Olajuwon, Clyde Drexler, Charles Barkley and Scottie Pippen), he's never had to sell himself. Ultimately, though, he understands that contracts like the megadeal Howard is seeking are between an owner and a player, which means he will personally have to close anything the Rockets proffer.

    "I don't remember the last free agent we had who was a megastar," Alexander says. His cadence is quick and his accent -- "better" shades toward "bettuh" -- remains rooted in West Orange, N.J., where he was raised the son of an insurance broker and a housewife, and NYU, where he graduated in 1965. He points out that in his early days as owner, sought-after stars recruited themselves: "We just got them."

    That's because he hit the ground running as few team buyers ever have. By age 50, Alexander had built a fortune managing money -- from Wall Street trader to investment company owner, picking up a law degree at Western State (now Thomas Jefferson) through night classes along the way -- and when he decided he wanted to own a team, David Stern pointed him toward Houston.

    The Rockets had gone 55-27 in 1992-93, and their franchise player, Olajuwon, was only 30. But the region was suffering from a severe oil and gas bust, and Charlie Thomas, who owned a string of Houston car dealerships, sold the club to Alexander for a bottom-of-recession price of $85 million, with just $20 million cash up front. In Alexander's first year, the Rockets beat the Knicks, his favorite team when he was young, in the NBA Finals. The following season, they repeated against the Magic, giving Alexander rings in his first two seasons.

    Houston's success made the Rockets a go-to destination for All-Star veterans trying to win in the shadow of Michael Jordan. Alexander swung trades for Drexler in '95 and Barkley in '96, and acquired Pippen as part of a sign and trade in '99. "They were trying to come to us," he says. "They wanted to play together. There was no courtship, really."

    When that edition ran out of gas, Alexander targeted younger stars, trading for Steve Francis nearly two months after Francis had gone to Vancouver in the 1999 draft. Three years later, he selected Yao Ming, making Yao the first overall pick and putting Houston far ahead of the curve in tapping vast markets of Asian fans. In 2004 he dealt Francis for Tracy McGrady, who wanted out of Orlando. He got lucky with Yao, but as Alexander puts it, "Once they don't want to play where they are, we really target them."

    Initially, he enjoyed the camaraderie he had with a roster of mature, thoughtful players and 
liked hanging with Rudy Tomjanovich, who coached the Rockets from '91 to 2003. But with an influx of early entrants and high school phenoms over the past decade, Alexander has faded from the locker room. "With younger players, it's a much more difficult process," he says. "I tried making a locker room speech once, and when I was done, Stevie Francis said, 'Can I borrow your plane?' and cracked up."

    Still, the Rockets have had just three losing seasons since Alexander bought them, and after half a dozen years of haggling with the local American Hockey League team, the city and voters, a new arena, the Toyota Center, opened in 2003. The team generated $26.6 million in profits last year, making it worth $568 million (nearly seven times what Alexander paid), according to Forbes. Together with the Astros and Comcast, the Rockets launched their own regional sports network, which promises to be even more lucrative 
than the 10-year, $600 million cable deal it had with Fox.

    That is to say, Alexander pursues his goals with a passion and finds straightforward ways to achieve them. For instance, he cares about animals -- his yellow Lab, Joy, is a rescue dog -- so he called around, asking where the biggest need was and built a sanctuary in Middleburg, Va., for older and abused horses. He wanted to make wine -- "great wine, not just wine" -- so he bought 22 acres on Long Island, hired David Abreu, one of the country's top viticulturists, and started producing chardonnays and cabernets in 2001. A friend in real estate told Alexander that a Gramercy Park penthouse coming on the market would be a great value, so last year he bought it for $42 million, a record for a downtown New York residence.

    What Alexander has yet to do is bring another NBA title to Houston. In 2006 he hired stats wunderkind Daryl Morey away from the Celtics, naming him GM a year later. It's true that for a few seasons after the peak of the Yao-McGrady era, Morey proved more adept at assembling spare parts and clearing cap space than developing or acquiring stars. Houston missed the playoffs three straight years as well.

    But Alexander remained patient while fans and local media grew restless. He has the practical confidence of a man whose life experiments have worked out; he forms a long-term plan and doesn't waver.

    "My memory of Les will forever be seeing him in his office, overlooking the practice court, watching the financial markets move on multiple computer screens," says Shane Battier, a Rocket from 2006 to 2011. "He obviously understands the value of data and information."

    In the NBA, that means understanding the value of stars. Last July Alexander and Morey made a bold move by signing point guard Jeremy Lin away from the Knicks. Four days before the start of the 2012-13 season, the Rockets brokered a deal with the Thunder for shooting guard James Harden, picking the pocket of a team in a difficult situation, similar to the acquisitions of Francis and McGrady.

    "I went to Harden on the team plane and said, 'I know there's a lot of pressure on you,'" says Alexander, who admits to having the kind of affection for Harden that he held for his first group of stars. "He's 23 years old. I told him when I was 23, I was making $80 a week. He was shocked."

    Alexander has rarely let emotions get in the way of smart business moves, and Houston is fully prepared to discard a batch of contracts to fit a prime free agent like Howard under next season's $58.5 million salary cap.

    The catch is that the man who can buy just about anything will need more than money to seal the deal that could make the Rockets champions again.

    Asked specifically what he'll do differently this summer to recruit the free agents he wants, Alexander replies, "I think there's enough of a story here, you know what I mean?"

    Will Dwight?
     
  13. RedDynasty

    RedDynasty Member

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    Great piece. Hopefully Dwight will.
     
  14. hotballa

    hotballa Contributing Member

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    Love Paul, wonder how he and Harden will co-exist. Both need the ball in their hand. Is Harden really going to turn into a spot up shooter? sexy names don't necessarily translate into championships. Also, Howard is not Asik, he is going to want the ball on the offensive end.
     
  15. KiLLiN

    KiLLiN Member

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    Wow amazing article on a great owner!
     
  16. pwnyxpress

    pwnyxpress Contributing Member

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    I think people are misinterpreting the Delfino-style contract statement. I'm pretty sure it will be at least a 3 yr deal, very possibly 4 yrs, but just that starting from the 2nd yr, it will be non-guaranteed or a team option.

    I agree though that neither Millsap or JSmith will agree to that.
     
  17. The Cat

    The Cat Contributing Member

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    Great piece. I did like this nugget:

    See you soon, Dwight! I'm sure we'll pull up to his house with our bus of fans. ;)
     
  18. gate470

    gate470 Rookie

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    Per realgm, it sounds like Jason Kidd is in the running to be the Nets HC and most fans think Shaw will end up coaching LAC.

    Does CP3 have a relationship with Shaw and would this prevent CP3 from joining another team?
     
  19. ROXTXIA

    ROXTXIA Contributing Member

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  20. Rockets2K

    Rockets2K Clutch Crew

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    It really doesn't matter.

    Chris Paul is a pipe dream. I would realistically put the chances of him leaving at less than 5%.

    Concentrate on the guy who has shown he is open to leaving his current team...not the one who hasn't.
     

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