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Rockets’ Tilman Fertitta ‘hellbent’ on reducing payroll, avoiding luxury tax

Tilman Fertitta, Rockets

The future of the Houston Rockets seems to be murky as the team discusses what it wants to do with James Harden and Russell Westbrook. While the organization mulls over their options, Tilman Fertitta — the governor of the Rockets — is reportedly ‘hellbent’ on reducing the team’s payroll and avoiding the luxury tax, per The Athletic’s Kelly Iko and David Aldridge.

Ever since the 2019-2020 season concluded, the Rockets have undergone quite a few notable changes. First and foremost, Mike D’Antoni and Houston believed it was best for him to move on as the head coach of the franchise.

Following his departure, the Rockets hired Stephen Silas to replace D’Antoni. At the same time, Houston replaced Daryl Morey as their general manager with Rafael Stone, ushering in a new era for the organization.

With the direction of the franchise being undetermined, both Harden and Westbrook have reportedly welcomed trades from the Rockets. And with Fertitta wanting to lower the team’s payroll and get under the luxury tax, trading both of them would make sense.

If Fertitta isn’t going to be willing to spend money then both Harden and Westbrook would be better off heading elsewhere. At the same time, if the Rockets are going to lean into a rebuild, they might as well do it in their first year with a new head coach and general manager.

In recent years, the Rockets were a team that came close to reaching the NBA Finals multiple times, but they always fell short. When the 2020-2021 season begins, it’s evident that Houston could look a lot different.

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