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Rockets to be sold for NBA-record price of more than $2 billion

Houston is changing ownership and it comes at a mouth-dropping price.

2016 NBCUniversal Summer Press Day - Panel Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

Houston Rockets owner Leslie Alexander has agreed to sell the franchise to fellow Houston billionaire Tilman Fertitta for a record-breaking price of more than $2 billion, according to The Houston Chronicle’s Jonathan Feigen. The final sale price will be $2.2 million, according to business reporter Scott Soshnick.

SB Nation confirmed the news via multiple sources. Alexander had announced in July that he was interested in selling the team.

Fertitta bought the team himself with no other partners, according to Feigen.

Why this sale is significant

The last team to sell for that price was the Los Angeles Clippers, whom Steve Ballmer bought for $2 billion after disgraced former owner Donald Sterling was ousted. This sale of the Rockets is on pace to top that.

Wow!

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Who is Tilman Fertitta?

Fertitta is a Houston-based, self-made businessman and television personality who has built his wealth by being the sole owner of Landry’s, Inc., an enormous restaurant corporation. Forbes estimates his wealth at $3.1 billion. He was rumored to be a potential buyer of the Rockets early in the process.

How valuable should the Rockets be?

Houston had the third-best record in the league last season while taking their team to the conference semifinals. They have James Harden, the MVP runner-up, signed through 2023 and currently in his prime, and they’ve traded for Chris Paul this summer. Certainly, the future looks great for the Rockets, especially when you factor in an innovative front office and coaching staff that has consistently treated basketball with bold experimentation and come out better for it.

Will more sales like this happen?

No NBA franchise has sold since 2015, when the Atlanta Hawks changed hands. However, SB Nation’s Tom Ziller has speculated that the ownership market might explode soon due to the NBA’s huge profitability and enormous television deal that has saturated every team in money. For owners looking to make a profit, there has never been a better time.

How are Rockets fans reacting?

They’re surprised.