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#pounditWednesday, November 30, 2022

Report: Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta wants to shed salary to avoid luxury tax

Daryl Morey

The Houston Rockets have come up in a lot of trade rumors with Thursday’s deadline coming up, and there is definitely a reason for that.

The Rockets, according to a new report, are motivated to shed salary. According to Jabari Young of CNBC, owner Tilman Fertitta wants to reduce the team’s $140 million payroll to get under the luxury tax threshold. Some league executives believe that GM Daryl Morey is facing a mandate to cut payroll while still keeping the team competitive.

“He’s got a new owner now. This isn’t the old days with Leslie Alexander; he’s with Fertitta now, who counts every penny. It’s a new world there,” one anonymous Western Conference executive told CNBC.

This could be why players like Clint Capela are coming up in trade rumors. Capela signed a five-year, $90 million contract with the Rockets in 2018, but the anonymous executive said the team is “done” with him.

The Rockets aren’t significantly over the luxury tax as it stands, but the consequences get much worse for repeat offenders. The Rockets appear to want to deal with that before it gets to that point. It looks increasingly likely that Morey will be tasked with the very difficult mandate of constructing a contender on a tighter budget, which raises the possibility that this iteration of the Rockets has already come as close as it can to a championship.

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