Since Houston businessman Tilman Fertitta purchased the Houston Rockets in 2017, he’s seen essentially every stage of the Rockets. When Fertitta first inherited the franchise, the Rockets had the best record in the NBA, as they went 65-17 in 2017-18, setting a franchise record for wins in a single season.
The Rockets came extremely close to winning a title but were unable to overcome Chris Paul‘s hamstring injury, which he suffered in the 2018 Western Conference Finals. Trevor Ariza was also a free agent that offseason and had shown his defensive versatility, while also having made 36.8% of his threes in 2017-18. Ariza ultimately received a $15 million offer from the Phoenix Suns, as the Rockets opted to pass on re-signing him, with concerns of being forced to pay the luxury tax.
Although many fans were unhappy with the decision not to bring Ariza back, inking Ariza to a long-term deal could have forced the Rockets to pay the repeater tax, with both Paul and James Harden on max deals. The timing couldn’t have been any worse for him to be a free agent, as he was coming off of a do-or-die Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals in which he went 0-for-9 from 3-point land.
How Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta has committed to change
Those days seem like ages ago now, as the Rockets have undergone a multitude of changes of late, as they’ve had an unsurmountable number of departures from the franchise, with the Rockets having won just 23.6% of their games, which is the third-worst mark in franchise history.
But Fertitta has been committed to the direction of Rockets GM Rafael Stone and has also given the vote of confidence to Rockets coach Stephen Silas. Off the court, Fertitta has also committed to creating change in the community, as he was behind several blood drives at the heart of the coronavirus pandemic and also hosted several food drives to front-line workers, as the nation battled COVID-19.
Fertitta was recently among several investors who contributed $60 million in a recent round of funding to Instawork, to help resolve the employment issues facing companies across multiple industries, including the hospitality industry.
Instawork is a marketplace that allows local businesses and local talent to find one another through their digital platform. The company states that they are the leading flexible staffing solution, providing workers for temp, temp-to-hire shift work.
All in all, $100 million has been raised thus far, which the company states will be used towards expanding in new markets and doubling their employee base off-shore.
Since the pandemic, Fertitta’s businesses have struggled from a labor standpoint, like many other companies. Fertitta stated that he gave a “large, six-digit” contribution, while adding, “I don’t think it’s a major stake. It’s a small amount.”
Fertitta also explained why he was intrigued by the digital platform.
“I just felt like that this was a real deal; it’s something that was really needed. People today-they want to do everything on the phone.”
With 1 million+ workers already on their payroll, and Houston at a 7% unemployment rate, Instawork could very well be the key to solving Fertitta’s labor challenges within his businesses.