"And Pray For Victor!" - While Partying At Mardi Gras, Rockets Owner Tim Fertitta Decided To Openly Root For Tanking While Talking To A Reporter
Adam Silver has quite a few problems that he needs to deal with on his plate at the moment. There's the pending CBA discussions that are about to take place which for all we know could end in a lockout. There's the whole load management problem which Silver already fumbled given what he said over All Star Weekend
There's the whole stars demanding trades in Year 1 of their max extensions problem. And of course, there's tanking.
Once upon a time, the NBA thought that if they flattened the lottery odds with the top 3 picks, that maybe less teams would tank. Let's take a look at how that's going! Shall we pick, the Spurs for this example?
I'd go so far as to say that the new Lottery odds haven't done jack shit to discourage teams from tanking. Whatever the league does to the odds clearly doesn't matter. Teams will still lose on purpose, especially when you have a franchise altering talent coming in as the #1 pick like Victor Wembanyama.
You know how I know this? Just listen to Rockets owner Fertitta talk about this very thing while at Mardi Gras
When you have an NBA owner publicly not just encouraging the tank, but praying that it happens, I'm pretty sure Adam Silver and the league office probably don't love it. Especially when they supposedly care about competitive balance and all this other nonsense. The good news is even with the Spurs losing 14 in a row, Fertitta's Rockets have been answering his prayers by dropping 7 straight themselves and currently sit in the #1 spot in the tanking race. They have a 3 game lead over the #4 spot (CHA), so I think it's pretty safe to think the Rockets will successfully end up in the top 3 and their Wemby dreams will still be alive.
While I'm sure there will be some that crush Fertitta for this, I actually respect the honesty. Sure, there's a decent chance he's fallen victim to the festivities of Mardi Gras and said the quiet part out loud, but at least he told the truth. It doesn't take a rocket (no pun intended but intended) scientist to know that a 13-45 team is gunning for the #1 pick. Two seconds of watching Rockets basketball will confirm it.
The thing is, it's OK! In the NBA, this is how you build. The worst place you can be is stuck in the middle, and as a young team that has no business winning games right now, I'm not sure what you expected their owner to say. The only thing the Rockets can do right now is fuck up their tanking season. Until things change in how the Lottery is sorted, this is the NBA's reality. In most cases, you have to get really bad before you can get really good. Unless you can find a team willing to mortgage their future in a trade and give up a ton of unprotected picks and then have that team actually stink, tanking is the path.
So while he's not wrong, if I were a Rockets fan this would have me nervous. Would it surprise anyone if the league made sure (wink wink) that the Rockets didn't win the Lottery now? Given their history of pulling some shady shit when it comes to the ping pong balls, now that Silver is seeing an owner straight up campaign to lose on purpose, it feels like the perfect opportunity to hit him where it hurts and make sure he doesn't get that pick. Even though we ALL know what's going on with HOU/SA/DET etc, you have to keep that to yourself for the time being. Say you're focusing on developing young talent or some other bullshit that we all know isn't really true. Way safer that way and you won't have to worry about any funny business from the league.
Great clip though, and I'd say there's no chance he even remembers saying it the day after. Something tells me that pending fine is gonna hurt.