How Rockets’ owner Tilman Fertitta got the last laugh

Houston Rockets Tilman Fertitta (Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images for Haute Living )
Houston Rockets Tilman Fertitta (Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images for Haute Living ) /

In many regards, Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta has constantly been the scapegoat within the Rockets fanbase. Part of this is simply because Fertitta was one of the newest faces with significant power within the organization at a time when the Rockets were on the cusp of title contention.

Fertitta has come under fire by the Rockets’ faithful for his repeated decision to dodge the luxury tax. This was most notably the case in 2018, when the Rockets’ brass decided against retaining Trevor Ariza after coming within a hamstring short of reaching the NBA Finals following their franchise record-setting season in 2017-18 (and likely winning the title as well, although that varies depending on who you ask).

Fertitta managed to keep quiet and stay out of the limelight in 2020-21, which was not only one of the Rockets’ worst seasons in recent memory, but one of the Rockets’ worst seasons in franchise history, as their 23.6% winning clip was the third-worst in franchise history. Fertitta gained more of a positive reputation when he gave his support and vote of confidence to rookie Rockets head coach Stephen Silas, while many began to question whether Silas was capable of leading the franchise to dominance again, following the trades of Russell Westbrook and specifically James Harden.

How Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta got the last laugh

However Fertitta’s positive reputation took a hit when news surfaced that long-time Rockets broadcaster Matt Bullard wasn’t going to be returning to his post. Speculation ran rampant that Bullard’s unapologetic Democratic political stance caused him to lose his job.

The thinking was that Fertitta, who is a known Republican, intervened and pushed out Bullard. Although this was a convenient take, it never held any merit, as Bullard was employed by AT&T SportsNet and not the Rockets.

On Tuesday that speculation ceased when it was announced that Bullard was actually joining the Rockets’ front office. This is essentially a promotion and a path to an entirely different career field, with significantly more earning potential.

After the announcement of Bullard’s new role within the organization, it was hard to not point out the fallacies that roamed regarding Fertitta pushing Bullard out of his role, as such takes were grossly erroneous.

Although Fertitta won’t say anything publicly, you can bet he knows he got the last laugh, in this case.

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