Ex Packers boss to take over

Cowboys get their man at head coach, hiring Super Bowl winner McCarthy

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The Dallas Cowboys did not act quickly in deciding former head coach Jason Garrett's fate. The decision dragged out for nearly a week after the season.

They did, however, move quickly once the decision to fire Garrett was made.

The Cowboys on Monday named former Packers boss Mike McCarthy to be the new head coach in Dallas.

McCarthy sat out last season after being fired by the Green Bay Packers 12 games into the 2018 season.

Solid track record

In 13 seasons in Green Bay, McCarthy went 125-77-2 in the regular season for a .619 winning percentage. In the playoffs, he was 10-8 and the Packers won the Super Bowl after the 2010 season.

The Packers made the playoffs nine times in his 13 seasons, including three trips to the NFC Championship Game. Interestingly, he had a 7-3 record against the Cowboys.

The negatives

Things did not end well for McCarthy in Green Bay. The Packers went 7-9 in 2017 and were 4-7-1 in 2018 when he was let go with four games remaining in the season. He sparred with star quarterback Aaron Rodgers at the end of his tenure, and the Packers bounced back to go 13-3 in the year after McCarthy was let go.

An upgrade over Garrett

Still, his numbers tower over Garrett's. The former Cowboys coach was 85-67 over his 10 years in Dallas, making the playoffs just three times and going 2-3 in those appearances, never getting past the divisional round. Garrett had only one losing season, going 4-12 in 2015, but the Cowboys went just 8-8 this season in a year where they were expected to be Super Bowl contenders.

The bottom line

If McCarthy can replicate his successful seasons in Green Bay, Cowboys fans should be thrilled. However, if the Cowboys get the McCarthy who was run out of town after two losing seasons, the hire will be considered a failure. Odds are they will get good McCarthy, as sometimes teams just need a new voice after a long tenure. The Cowboys certainly needed that after 10 years with Garrett.

With McCarthy, they have that new voice. Whether or not it translates to new results remains to be seen, but the Cowboys have their man.

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The media has mixed feelings about the James Harden trade. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

James Harden was 100-percent exactly right earlier this week when he said the Houston Rockets were "just not good enough."

How could they be? Not when their moody superstar scorer, who makes about half a million dollars per game, shows up chubby, looking like a kielbasa about to explode in the microwave. Hey, some people eat when they're unhappy, it's a defense mechanism. In Harden's case, the only defense he's exhibited this season. At least he had a good excuse for missing pre-season training camp and alienating his teammates - he was busy partying with Cinnamon and Cherish in Atlanta and Vegas without a mask. Worst of all, he went into the tank his last four games in a Rockets uniform, standing around, arms folded, scoring fewer than 20 points each time, all Rockets losses. Fans in the front row were asking him to move, he was blocking their view of players who cared about winning. James Harden sabotaged his own team, a team that offered him $50 million a year to stay. Something that crazy could only happen in professional sports these days.

There's a saying that drives the American labor movement: "a fair day's wage for a fair day's work." It's the motto of the American Federation of Labor. The National Basketball Players Association is not a member. Harden's sulking on the court, cheating the Rockets and their fans, was unforgivable.

Harden, sitting out games while somehow being on the court, forced the Rockets to trade him - and quick - to Brooklyn. The trade, when you ignore the fine print and unindicted co-conspirators Cleveland and Indiana, sent Harden to Brooklyn in exchange for Caris LeVert (immediately flipped for Victor Oladipo), Jarrett Allen, three first-round draft picks and four swapped first-rounders. It's true, when you trade a superstar, you never get back equal value. The other team wins.

If it makes Rockets fans feel any better, the media in New York already has problems with their new problem child. I should say newest problem child. Kyrie Irving plays for the Nets.

"They (the Nets) gave up everybody! There's nothing left now. I just want to cry, It's awful," weeped WFAN Radio talk host Evan Roberts. For those who don't subscribe to weekly Arbitron ratings reports, WFAN is the most powerful, top-rated sports talk station in the Apple.

"You're leading down the road of doom. Harden and Durant could be gone in a year and a half. I'm not convinced this gives them a better chance to win a title. I'm living a nightmare again. They better freaking win."

Circle March 3 on your Rockets schedule. That's when the Brooklyn Nets, with their Big 3 of Kevin Durant, James Harden and possibly Kyrie Irving visit Toyota Center. I hear talk radio salivating over the record jeers that will cascade over Harden's name, although I'm not buying it. Fans don't think like the media does. I'm thinking that Rockets fans will welcome Harden back - one night only - with cheers.

Toyota Center public address announcer Matt Thomas: "Usually when former Rockets come to town for the first time since leaving, I give them a positive introduction. It's up to the fans how to react."

James Harden spent eight seasons with the Rockets. He is a spectacular player who watched other NBA players engineer trades so they could compete for a title. Harden didn't think the Rockets were good enough, and he's right. So he wanted out. We've all been there, a job we didn't like for a company we didn't like, for a boss we didn't respect. Harden wanting to be traded is understandable. How he went about it was deplorable. He hurt his co-workers.

Houston will make Harden pay for his disrespectful departure. He has an upscale restaurant set to open here. The name of the steakhouse will be "13." Harden's business partners may want to change that number ... before the restaurant's telephone number is disconnected. There are plenty of other restaurants in Houston. Rich people who can afford steakhouse prices hold grudges.

Rockets fans searching for a silver lining say, "We got two decent players and a whole bunch of precious first-round picks" for a malcontent who would rather be anywhere (except maybe Sacramento) than Houston." Yes, a bunch of first-round picks does bode well for the future. Anywhere, except maybe Houston.

Houston's draft war room isn't the most successful operation in the NBA. Over the past decade prior to 2000, under the direction of general manager Daryl Morey, the Rockets made 16 draft picks. Not one of them is still in a Rockets uniform, many of them have sought employment outside of America, some outside of basketball. Among their first-round whiffs: Nikola Mirotic, Terrence Jones, Sam Dekker - all out of the league. Best of all, Royce White, who played three whole games in his NBA career and finished with a scoring average of 0.00 points per game.

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