Everything is at stake for the Houston Rockets in Game 7

Houston Rockets James Harden (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Houston Rockets James Harden (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /
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Houston Rockets
Houston Rockets James Harden (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /

Everything is on the line for the Houston Rockets in tonight’s Game 7, with a loss would likely marking the end of an era for the franchise.

Game sevens are what make the NBA playoffs magical. Two teams’ seasons — whittled down to a single contest. Lose and go home. One team leaves the court in blissful ecstasy, and the other is forced to make way for the victor, their gaze cast upon the hardwood to contain the sadness that is no more basketball. And that’s just a usual game seven. Game seven between the Houston Rockets and the Oklahoma City Thunder is so much more.

Everything is on the line for the Houston Rockets, from ownership to the front office to the coaching staff on down to the players. Game 7 will define the franchise for years to come. Defeat could bring this iteration of the Rockets toppling down, while victory brings on the Lakers and a step closer to a championship.

Everything is at stake for Houston Rockets Owner Tilman Fertitta

When Tilman Fertitta bought the Houston Rockets in September of 2017 for a record $2.2 billion, the plan was to win and to win big. The Rockets didn’t disappoint. After a Summer trade for Chris Paul, the Rockets won an NBA-best 65 games in 2017-18 and came within a game of reaching the NBA Finals.

However, that’s the closest the Rockets would come to the Finals during Fertitta’s ownership. Now, in 2020 Fertitta, known as the “world’s richest restaurateur,” finds his business in a precarious situation. To facilitate his record purchase of the Houston Rockets, Fertitta sold $1.4 billion in bonds by combining the operations of the Golden Nugget Inc. and Landry’s Inc., of which he owns both.

Those bonds are set to mature in 2024 and 2025. In short, Fertitta’s main businesses, centered on gambling and restaurants, are set to owe investors $1.4 billion, plus interest in four to five years.

The fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic cannot be understated when it comes to the Rockets owner’s finances. The Rockets may be forced to operate in a completely different economic realm in future seasons as Fertitta prepares to hemorrhage money.

A championship or deep playoff run could change that, but a first-round exit would surely damper Fertitta’s fire to spend big when massive losses look to be on the horizon.

Next: The High stakes continue