The Houston Rockets are having one of the more tumultuous offseasons in the NBA. Both of their superstars, Russell Westbrook and James Harden, have already requested trades. One NBA insider said he believes it has to do less with basketball and more with owner Tilman Fertitta’s political views.
Longtime NBA reporter Ric Bucher went on “The Odd Couple” podcast with Chris Broussard and Rob Parker, and shared an interesting tidbit about the discord in Houston. According to Bucher, there is a “revolt” going on, and it’s directly related to Fertitta supporting President Donald Trump.
“I immediately thought this was Daryl Morey leaving, and Mike D’Antoni leaving, and Russell Westbrook and James Harden going ‘no offense to Stephen Silas or Rafael Stone, but we don’t want a starter kit, we’re playing for a championship,’” Bucher said on the podcast.
“But what I heard is — and we know how much politics and political position had to do with the boycott and protests during the (NBA) bubble — I’m hearing that Tilman Fertitta’s strong Republican support and donations is one of the things that is contributing to this dissatisfaction, and those two [Westbrook and Harden] are not the only ones to want out of Houston. Lesser players are of the same mind. There is a revolt here because they look at Fertitta as a guy who supports the current President.”
Fertitta, who owns the dining and hospitality corporation Landry’s, Inc., purchased the Rockets in 2017. He has been a prominent Republican donor for years, and is reportedly close to President Trump. He was also critical of GM Daryl Morey’s tweets supporting protests in Hong Kong, which drew huge backlash from China.
The Rockets have been competitive for years, but have consistently failed to get past Western Conference superpowers – first the Golden State Warriors and now the Los Angeles Lakers. Many thought that Westbrook and Harden wanting out had more to do with that lack of success – but now another theory has emerged.
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