NBA Houston Rockets for sale

Businessman and financier Leslie Alexander is selling his Houston Rockets NBA team.

The Houston Rockets are for sale, the NBA franchise's owner has confirmed.

Billionaire businessman and financier Leslie Alexander bought the Rockets before the start of the 1993-94 season for a reported $US85 million ($A109m) and it was recently valued at $US1.65 billion ($A2.12b) by Forbes.

"It's been my great joy and honour to own the Houston Rockets for the past 24 years," Alexander said in a statement released by the team.

"I've had the incredible opportunity to witness true greatness through the players and coaches who have won championships for the city, been named to All-Star and All-NBA teams, enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame, and done so much for our franchise and our fans."

The Rockets, who won back-to-back titles in 1994 and 1995, finished last season with the third best record in the Western conference but underlined their championship ambitions by signing James Harden to a contract extension earlier this month that will pay him $US228m ($A292m) over the next six seasons.

Rockets CEO Tad Brown said the weight of ownership had taken a toll on Alexander who wants to focus more of his time and energies on philanthropic efforts and family.

"I've made this decision after much deliberation with my family and friends and do so knowing the franchise is in great shape with the players, coaches and management team in place," added Alexander.

"CEO Tad Brown will oversee the sales process with the league office, supported by my management team."

With Yao Ming as the team's centrepiece, the Rockets helped popularise the game globally, and particularly in China which is now the NBA's biggest market outside of the United States.