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Rockets' Alexander has long-term plans for Parsons, calls Howard his most important acquisition

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HOUSTON (FOX 26) -

Houston Rockets owner Leslie Alexander takes great pride in the fact he has never allowed a player to leave his organization that he wanted to keep and when it comes to forward Chandler Parsons, Alexander plans to have him around for a long time.

Parsons is in the third year of a four-year contract that will pay him $926,500 this season, making him one of the best bargains in sports.

Alexander told FOX 26 Sports the Rockets will, at some point, work out a long-term deal with Parsons.

"We won't lose anybody," Alexander said. "We never do.

"He'll be here. We'll sign Chandler. We always do. Nobody's ever left. He's an integral part of the team. We don't want to let a terrific player go."

While Alexander said Parsons knows how the Rockets feel, the third-year veteran still enjoyed hearing the information.

"It means a lot just because I want to be here and I feel like I'm a huge part of this team going forward," Parsons said.

"To hear that from the owner gives me confidence that I'll be here and I believe him. I know at the end of the day it's a business, but when you have someone's word like that and you're happy here and you got a good thing going, I don't see this changing. I want to be here. So it's a good match."

While on the subject of his players, Alexander, who has brought players like Clyde Drexler, Charles Barkley, Scottie Pippen and Tracy McGrady to the Rockets, said landing Dwight Howard is his most important acquisition.

"Yes by far," Alexander said. "He's the best center in the league when he's healthy and we think he is now.

"He's one of the top two or three players in the league."

Hearing the compliment from his owner brought a smile to Howard's face.

"It's an honor for him to say that," Howard said. "I'm just going to do whatever I can to help this city, help this team grow. I know I can't do it alone and I'm not looking to do it alone.

"I just want to be that pillar, that rock for the organization, for this city. I've got a great opportunity. It's something that I've always prayed for and it's here. It's a big responsibility, but I think I'm ready for it.

"Thanks Les."

While Howard may be Alexander's most important acquisition, the trade that brought guard James Harden to the Rockets prior to last season, has to be near the top of his list.

"I love James," Alexander said. "The more I get to know him, the more I like him. He's a great guy. When we went out (Wednesday), I watched practice. He was the one running the sprints the fastest. He was the one coaching the other guys. He was the one who cared the most on the court.

"He wants to be the best player in the NBA and he might achieve that."

In the midst of the blockbuster deals that brought Harden and Howard to Houston, was the below-the-radar move to sign free agent guard Patrick Beverley, moving him from Russia to Houston.

He became an important role player for the Rockets as a rookie and started five games in the playoffs.

"Nobody we've ever had hustles more than him," Alexander said."

And it was the hustling of the Rockets front office, led by general manager Daryl Morey, that helped find Beverley and bring him to Houston.

The same kind of hustle led to the Rockets drafting Parsons in the second round of the 2011 NBA Draft.

"That's what they're supposed to do," Alexander said. "That's their job. If they didn't they wouldn't be here."

And many of those club officials are not with the Rockets any way.

Since last season the Rockets lost executives Sam Hinkie (Philadelphia 76rs GM), Gersson Rosas (Dallas Mavericks GM) and Arturas Karnisovas (Denver Nuggets assistant GM).

Plus Nick Nurse, former head coach of the Rockets NBA Development League team, the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, is now an assistant coach with the Toronto Raptors.

"You don't want to lose people, but you know it's going to happen if you have good people," Alexander said.

"Why wouldn't somebody else hire them and you can't say 'no you can't go.'

"Shows you what a great staff we had, right?"

Alexander and general manager Daryl Morey promoted from within to fill the front office positions.

Morey is in the process of finding a new head coach for the Vipers.

"I think Daryl is the best GM in the league," Alexander said. "I think he's done a fantastic job. I think the Harden trade was unbelievable. Getting Dwight was unbelievable, drafting Chandler, all of these people.

"If you think about it, in the last little over a year. We've gotten James Harden, Dwight Howard, Omer Asik, Jeremy Lin, Patrick Beverley. Unbelievable."

With Howard in the middle, to go along with his franchise's other weapons, Alexander is expecting good things for the Rockets during the 2013-14 season, but he is not making any bold predictions.

"I think we're going to be a very good playoff team," Alexander said. "I don't want to talk championship. I envision us playing really well and going deep in the playoffs and see what happens from there."

Alexander knows there is a buzz about his Rockets, locally and nationally.

"Great, I love it," Alexander said. "Unbelievable buzz, everywhere you go.

"People say 'oh Houston Rockets, you guys are great.' There was so much publicity this summer about this team and about this city because of this team, that was fantastic.

"We have great players. We have a great coach. We have a great system here. You got to play it to see how good you are."

Alexander bought the Rockets in June of 1993.

He and the Rockets will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the franchise's first NBA Championship that was won during his first year owning the team.

"When I watched the Rockets, the team I wanted to win, beat the team (New York Knicks) I grew up rooting for, it was a fantastic evening (in 1994)," Alexander said.

"I always knew that it was too easy in the beginning. That I hadn't paid my dues. Then I couldn't believe it. The second year I won again. So it was great."

Since then Alexander has been attempting to duplicate the formula that it takes to win his third NBA title.

And that included leading the way for a new home for his franchise.

This season is the 10th anniversary of the opening of Toyota Center.

"Unbelievable," Alexander said. "Thank God the building still looks great.

"First of all if you didn't have a new building you couldn't get players. Nobody would come here. So that's the most important thing of all. It gives us the ability to pay for things like a new locker room, things that do attract players.

"I think it's great and players absolutely love it. It gets around the league that we spend money to take care of our players."

Wednesday night Alexander went to dinner with Morey, Howard, Harden and head coach Kevin McHale.

In the not-too-distant future he hopes he and his team can go to dinner to celebrate an NBA Championship.

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