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Carmelo and three other bad Houston sports decisions

Houston has dealt with a fair amount of misses. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

Thoughts and prayers to Carmelo Anthony as his “illness” continues to deter him from getting back on the court with your Houston Rockets. I haven’t heard specific details of the illness, but it has to be pretty bad if it’s kept him off the court for three straight games (2-1). Okay, screw it. We all know he’s not sick and the Rockets and Carmelo are going to mutually part ways. I love that the Rockets have always been willing to swing for the fences in order to try and win at the highest level, but Melo was obviously never going to be a fit at this point of his career. Let’s relive some Houston sports decisions that went sideways.

Carmelo to Rockets

If you discard the “Hoodie Melo” narrative where people wanted to believe he was secretly still a great player based on how he played in video footage of pickups games while wearing a hoodie, you can see that Melo is over. At least the version we once knew is over. It’s been years since Melo was a factor for a winning organization and his inability to defend never matched with the newfound mindset the Rockets adopted last season. Did we mention he’s doesn’t shoot 3’s well?

Pippen vs. Barkley

In the 1998-1999 season, the Rockets added 33-year old Scottie Pippen to the duo of Charles Barkley (34) and Hakeem Olajuwon (35). The old got older. While age was a big problem, the personalities of Pippen and Barkley were bigger issues. Barkley had a hard time getting along with Clyde Drexler by their second year together, and it took even less time for his relationship with Pippen to implode. Pippen started trash talking Barkley publicly to basically force the Rockets to deal him before the 1999-2000 season.

Brokedown Ed Reed

Coming off of a season of injury and game tape that was below par, the Houston Texans decided they needed to add the Patriots killer, Ed Reed, to the roster in order to finally get over the hump against New England. Now, it’s worth noting that Ed Reed had a tear in his hip labrum that he did not disclose which meant the Texans couldn’t check for it during the free agency period. Of course he was hurt most of the year, wasn’t good when he could play, and bad-mouthed Wade Phillips on the way out. Quick question. Why did the Texans think it was a good idea to let a young safety in Glover Quin go so they could add a guy who was basically finished? Smart move, guys.

GoGo a NoNo for Astros

The Astros were used to being extremely terrible when 2015 started, but all of a sudden, they found themselves in the midst of a surprise season with young talent bolstering their improvement. The Astros decided that adding Carlos Gomez, another bat, to the outfield would improve their chances of making the playoffs. “GoGo” was a high strikeout player with just average power, but the Astros apparently saw something they felt should be added to their young core. Gomez had just 385 at-bats as an Astros with 9 homeruns and 131 strikeouts. And….. they traded Josh Hader as part of the package for him. Hader is pretty, pretty good. We all know that Jeff Luhnow turned the Astros into a World Series winner, but this move? Not so great. At least we got to see GoGo’s helmet fly off on missed swings at least seven times per game.

Deshaun Watson takes his act to New York. Tim Warner/Getty Images

The Texans Saturday play a lousy 4-9 Jets team Saturday now without its leading rusher (Isaiah Crowell) and leading pass catcher (Quincy Enunwa). Then they face a probably Carson Wentz-less Eagles team seeing its Super Bowl championship defense die away. Then the awful Jaguars come to Houston. 12-4 is right there for the Texans, but that will only be enough for the number three seed in the AFC and a Wild Card weekend home game unless the fading Steelers rise up Sunday to knock off the Patriots. That game is in Pittsburgh. The Patriots' final two games are both at home against the Bills and Jets.

With the Patriots losing their game to the Miami Miracle, on one hand you can say the Texans blew a massive opportunity in losing at home to the Colts. On the other hand the Colts were clearly the better team in ending the Texans' nine game winning streak.

The loss to Indy was a reality check. The Texans are a pretty good team, but glaring areas of weakness keep it from being a reeeeally good team. The offensive line is flat lousy in pass protection, though sometimes Deshaun Watson makes it look even worse by holding on to the ball too long. Pending free agent moves in the offseason, one of the Texans' top two draft picks next spring MUST be spent on an offensive lineman, the other on a cornerback (if not on another o-lineman). Even in their zone-heavy scheme, the Texans lack corners who run well enough. If the pass rush isn't raising hell, the secondary is Swiss cheesy. Remember, the Texans have an extra second pick this spring, acquired from Seattle in last year's Duane Brown trade.

If somehow the Texans chump up two of their remaining three games, as long as one of the losses isn't to the Jaguars they still win the AFC South even if the Titans or Colts win out.

Coogs' house

None of the Phi Slama Jama era Houston Cougar basketball teams started a season better than 5-0. Sunday Kelvin Sampson's Coogs go for a Bo Derek (perfect 10, anybody remember Bo?) start. Only UH team ever to open 10-0: the Elvin Hayes-led '67-'68 squad that went 31-0 and along the way beat UCLA in the Game of the Century before the Bruins obliterated the Cougars at the Final Four.

The new Fertitta Center is a modest-sized gem, and currently offers the hands down best sports environment in town. Non-Cougars are never going to embrace UH in big numbers especially not in a major league sports town, so UH's "For the City" slogan doesn't hit the mark. But so what? Drawing more of the Cougar base, plus any outside of it who might have some interest piqued by intensely played quality college basketball is good enough.

Rockets rumors

The Rockets have been vastly less excitement-inducing this season, though James Harden's closing brilliance in a 50 point explosion Thursday night to put away the Lakers was a doozy. Getting back to and then over ,500 is the Rockets' near term goal. A good month of sustained quality play is needed to restore credibility. Chris Paul's overall level of play remains a serious concern. The rumor this week of their interest in Cleveland malcontent J.R. Smith, egads! That would render Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey Desperate Daryl. Morey is trying to recover from his awful offseason, but I can't believe he sees J.R. Smith as worthwhile.

Speaking of Morey's offseason work, the Rockets Saturday gain the right to trade Carmelo Anthony. What a bonanza must await in return!

Astros still armed

Not a great look for the Astros that they tugged on their purse strings while the Tampa Bay Rays of all teams guaranteed Charlie Morton $30 million dollars over the next two years. The Astros did not err. Morton was on balance outstanding in his two Astro seasons but he wore down badly this year, and at 35 years old his arm is a ticking bomb. The Astros should add an established starting pitcher, but even if Jeff Luhnow doesn't, the Collin McHugh/Brad Peacock/Josh James/Framber Valdez quartet isn't an indefensible plan to cover three rotation spots while waiting on elite prospect Forrest Whitley's arrival during the 2019 season. If poor performance/injuries are issues, nothing precludes a notable in-season trade. That Verlander fellow worked out okay a couple of seasons ago. A left handed hitter is the obvious other logical Astros' target.

Buzzer Beaters

1. Pipe down Tony La Russa. Harold Baines making the Baseball Hall of Fame is ridiculous. 2. La Russa also used to lambaste those who dared to believe that Mark McGwire might have been a steroid guy. 3. Best teams in the AFC: Bronze-Patriots Silver-Chargers Gold-Chiefs (but barely post-loser Kareem Hunt).

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