Houston Rockets: Tilman Fertitta knows it’s now or never

James Harden #13 and owner Tilman Fertitta of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images)
James Harden #13 and owner Tilman Fertitta of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images) /

In a recent interview, Houston Rockets Owner Tilman Fertitta said that if his team doesn’t win a championship in the next few years, they won’t for the foreseeable future.

In order to win a NBA championship, you have to take risks. That’s exactly what the Houston Rockets have done in recent seasons.

After sending a sizable haul to LA in return for Chris Paul back in 2017, the Rockets traded Paul to Oklahoma City for Russell Westbrook this summer. They also sent over their 2024 and 2026 first rounds picks and the right to swap picks in 2021 and 2025.

Houston’s core is made up of mostly veterans and they don’t have any young players that are likely to develop into superstars. So when it comes to winning, the time is now or never for this group, which is what Tilman Fertitta explained to Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes.

“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. This is our window, and we need to seize the opportunity.”

Both James Harden and Russell Westbrook have a player option in 2022, so they’ll be under contract with Houston until they’re 32 and 33 years old. Eric Gordon, who just signed a four-year extension, will be 35 years old when his contract ends in 2024. P.J. Tucker, who is seeking an extension with the Houston Rockets, is already 34.

As is the case with most contenders around the league, this is a veteran group. Swapping Paul for the younger Russell Westbrook extended Houston’s championship window by a few years, but this team still doesn’t have forever.

There’s a lot at stake for this team, and it’s a good thing that Fertitta is being honest about it. The realization that the next three years or so is it for this group puts a good amount of pressure on the guys in the locker room to win now. Once you hit 30, injuries and declining athleticism start to become a factor, so they need to play as if next season isn’t promised.

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This situation also puts a lot of pressure on Fertitta himself, which is a good thing for the Rockets’ organization at large. Houston has spent a lot of money on Harden, Westbrook, Gordon and Clint Capela in order to build the best team possible, but the team still has weak spots. If the opportunity presents itself for the Rockets to get even better, Fertitta should take it, even if it means going into the luxury tax.