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Leslie Alexander Sells The Rockets

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Leslie Alexander put the Houston Rockets up for sale in June and it appears they finally have a buyer. Mark Berman of Fox 26 in Houston is reporting that Houston billionaire and Landry’s Inc. CEO Tilman Fertitta is going to be the one to purchase the team for an NBA record, $2.2 billion, surpassing the $2 billion price tag that Steve Ballmer paid for the Clippers in 2014.

When Alexander put the Rockets up for sale in June he made it very clear that he was going to sell the team to someone who was going to keep them in Houston and with Fertitta being born in Galveston, Texas and taking up residence in Houston there is no reason to believe that he would even think about moving the team.

Fertitta is taking over a team that is poised to make a run at an NBA title, which makes the record price tag that he is paying worth it, because the value of the team is likely only going to increase over the next few years. He mentioned when the Rockets first became available for sale that he has always had an interest in buying the team so it is not too surprising to see him make it happen, even for the steep price tag, now that the opportunity has presented itself.

This high price tag continues a trend that we are seeing of professional sports teams being purchased for record amounts whenever one becomes available for purchase and you have to wonder when this is going to reach it’s peak and start to level out or start to decrease because the value of these teams can’t continue to go up forever.

For the people of Houston this is finally some good news for them to hear after all that they have been dealing with. Even though sports obviously is not important when you’re dealing with the damage they have dealt with, to know that their basketball team is in good hands and is not going to be leaving the city anytime soon is at least some good news for the time being.

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Kerr Stands and Delivers

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Golden State Warriors Head Coach Steve Kerr has weighed in on the idea of ending the “One-and-Done” rule instituted by the NBA. This idea has been gaining traction with forward-thinking NBA Commissioner Adam Silver lately and on Monday Kerr added another twist to the debate.

In an interview, Kerr said that he believes that players that declare for the NBA Draft, essentially leaving college early, should be allowed under NCAA rules to return to school if they were to go undrafted. Holding court during his daily session with reporters, Kerr stated, “We talk about amateurism and all this stuff, but if you’re truly trying to do what’s right for the kid, and the kid declares for the draft and doesn’t get drafted… Welcome him back. Do something good for the kids.”

Under current rules the player is allowed to declare eligibility for but not enter the draft in order to test the waters as they do not hire an agent.  Kerr was not pushed on whether he meant return to school or return to school AND play basketball.

However, as is being exposed with the FBI’s investigation into “Pay-to-Play” in college basketball, even if the players do not formally sign, there could be some type of money, compensation, impermissible benefits given to players that could make them toxic if they were return to their collegiate squad. Some pundits have even suggested that the player sit out one year, a la the current transfer rule, then the player could attend class until they transfer or return to their original school’s team.

One problem with this thinking is that once a player declares for the draft (even for the NFL), the player often stops going to class in order to work-out with a professional trainer in preparation to the combine/ draft.

Some think that this also leaves the school’s basketball programs in purgatory due to the restrictions on scholarships and how many are available. To possibly combat this, National Signing Day was moved to April, before the current date to declare and come back to school, thus the issue is moot for a school that now knows the scholarship count.

The rebranded developmental G-League is one of the options being floated that would financially compensate players wanting to play professionally after their final year of high school. There is still no talk of age-limits or having to have graduate high school but those details will certainly be poured over on debate shows and sports talk radio.

Kerr likely has much more compassion than the NCAA and would it make sense for the NBA to give up its “free” farm system? The fact that Adam Silver is exploring new directions regarding this is certainly a win for the rights of athletes to pursue their professions like many of their university’s athletic colleagues (baseball, golf, track…).


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Cavaliers Continue To Climb The Power Rankings

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  1. Celtics (21-4)

Sitting at 8-2 in their last ten games the Celtics have continued to roll and are not showing signs of slowing down any time this season after a really nice home win over the Bucks last night despite 40 points from the Greek Freak.

2. Rockets (18-4)

Playing at their typical fast pace the Rockets are looking really good and haven’t lost a game since November 14th. James Harden is also putting up MVP-like numbers right now and he looks poised to get the award after finishing second in the hotly debated MVP race last season.

3. Cavaliers (17-7)

The winning streak is still going in Cleveland and the Cavaliers have pretty much been blowing out anyone that is put in front of them. Sitting at 12-straight wins the Cavs have closed the gap significantly on the Celtics in the standings at the top of the East despite the really fast start to the season for Boston.

4. Warriors (19-6)

Them sitting at number four is not an indictment on the Warriors, but gives credit to how hot the teams sitting in front of them have been. The Warriors have been playing well but not quite to the level of the top three teams.

5. Spurs (16-8)

The fact that the Spurs are sitting at third in the West right now despite the fact that Kawhi Leonard hasn’t played a single minute this season is amazing and it tells you how good this team might actually be. Now Kyle Anderson is out, but they beat a pretty good Pistons team last night and on Sunday they barely lost to the Thunder even though they sat a majority of their best players. They might be in for a really hot stretch as soon as they get healthy.
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Cavaliers And Pistons Enter The Top-Five Power Rankings

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  1. Celtics (18-4)

Despite their long winning streak coming to an end over the past week against the Heat, the Celtics have continued to look really good on both ends of the floor and they are not showing any signs of slowing down, posting an 8-2 record over the past 10 games.

2. Rockets (16-4)

Houston is really the only team in the league that can go up and down with the Warriors offensively and a five-game winning streak combined with All-Star point guard Chris Paul being back in the lineup has things going really well right now in Houston.

3. Warriors (15-6)

The defending champs got beat up pretty good last Wednesday on the road at the hands of the Thunder, which had to feel really good for Russell Westbrook and those fans, but those losses happen to the Warriors just like they happen to everyone. The Warriors are kind of going through the motions at times which is something I expect to continue during the regular season and they are still a top-five team despite that.

4. Cavaliers (14-7)

All of the panic about the Cavaliers has gone by the wayside after a nine-game winning streak. Just like always a LeBron James team has figured it out and has put people at ease.

5. Pistons (13-6)

Let’s give Detroit some credit. I know it is still very early in the season, but they have played 19 games and are in second place in the East. They only have a +2.3 point differential per game, which is not great and tells you they are not likely going to win 50+ games, but with Tobias Harris, Avery Bradley, Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson the Pistons have some nice pieces to work with and they deserve some credit.

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