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Rockets news: Houston franchise sold to billionaire Tilman Fertitta for record price

Tilman Fertitta

The Houston Rockets have been sold to Houston billionaire Tilman Fertitta for an NBA record price of $2.2 billion, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski has reported.

The $2.2 billion price exceeds the $2 billion Steve Ballmer paid for the Los Angeles Clippers back in 2014.

Now-former Rockets owner Leslie Alexander surprisingly put the team up for sale earlier this summer. Forbes valued the franchise at $1.65 billion in February. Alexander bought the franchise for $85 million back in 1993, and the Rockets subsequently won back-to-back championships in 1994 and 1995.

The team’s new owner, Tilman Fertitta is the owner and CEO of Landry’s Inc., one of the nation’s largest restaurant corporations. Fertitta is also the star of the show “Billion Dollar Buyer” on CNBC. As of 2017, Forbes has his net worth valued at $3.1 billion.

In the Rockets, Fertitta buys a team that figures to be one of the top contenders in the Western Conference next season thanks to their superstar backcourt of James Harden and Chris Paul.

Harden, who finished second in last year’s MVP voting, signed a max contract extension which would keep him in Houston until 2023.

Meanwhile, the Rockets pulled off a blockbuster trade to acquire Chris Paul from the Clippers this offseason. Paul’s contract is set to expire next summer, though, and Fertitta will need to sign off on a substantial luxury tax bill if Paul signs a max contract to stay in Houston.