All the reasons Deshaun Watson's situation is nothing like James Harden's

There's still time smooth things over with Deshaun. Photo by Getty Images. Composite image by Brandon Strange

In what might be a week filled with the most drama in recent Houston sports history, big things are afoot.

The Rockets sent James Harden packing in a blockbuster deal with the Brooklyn Nets. Short term, it will be painful, but in the longterm, the Rockets made the right move for their future. They got as far as they could with Harden, who is not going to get better at this stage of his career. Harden pouted his way out of Houston and acted like a petulant child. He got his wish, but the Rockets will be better for it down the road.

Of course, national media compared Harden's case to that of Deshaun Watson, who is not happy with the Texans - and he shouldn't be. As usual, that's a lazy, hot take narrative.

The situations could not be more different. Harden has had his way with the Rockets for years. They have brought in multiple stars to try to appease him and win a title, and none of them worked out. Harden is near the end of his dominance as a player, and time is running short for him to add a title to his resume. The deal made sense for both parties. Harden gets to try again with Kevin Durant, and the Rockets move on.

As great of a player as he was, Harden never saw that he was the problem. There's that old poker adage, put so well by Mike McD in Rounders - "If you can't spot the sucker in the first half hour at the table, then you ARE the sucker." Harden was the sucker at the table.

Deshaun Watson is not. He has not publicly said anything other than a cryptic tweet. He has not demanded a trade. Watson does have a right to be angry as the Texans have made one dumb move after another, and they clearly lied to him about having an input on the GM search. Andre Johnson's flame-throwing tweet only added to the drama.

SO of course rumors are already swirling about potential Watson trades. But unlike the Harden mess, Watson's can be fixed.

New GM Nick Caserio will have to smooth things over, but he has already made strides by requesting an interview with Chiefs OC Eric Bieniemy, Watson's reportedly preferred choice at head coach.

While the Texans could conceivably trade Watson - and you could make a pretty good case for doing it - this isn't in the same ballpark as Harden. It's not in Watson's DNA to not show up for camp and cause discord, which is the only way he could force a deal. The more likely scenario is he gets his voice heard in the coaching search, and that appeases him. It's on Caserio to make that happen. It also means it is time to part ways with Jesus Jack Easterby, who has become the city's latest sports villain. Johnson's tweet made sure of that.

Watson has every right to be miffed. He had to live with Bill O'Brien's dictatorial rule for three-plus years. His best weapon was traded away for peanuts. And the goofball owner, Cal McNair, lied to him about keeping him in the loop on hires. In short, the Texans have become a joke of an organization.

But that can be fixed. Caserio is a sharp guy, and he will figure out how to smooth this over. Getting the coaching hire right - with Watson's input - could easily change the narrative. The more Caserio and the new coach get out front, the less McNair and Easterby can screw up.

In the end, it should get worked out, and all of this will be meaningless. Sure, Watson could decide enough's enough and pout his way out of town like Harden. But that's a long shot. Harden's time had passed in Houston. Watson is still getting started. His best years are ahead of him.

But it's time for the Texans to stop stepping on their own cranks and get the right coach and players in house, and stop letting Easterby have any say whatsoever. McNair needs to have the right people in place and trust them to do their jobs. Hopefully Caserio is that guy, and we will find out when he hires a coach. If they ignore Watson again? Then you can compare it to Harden. But it's hard to see that happening. Then again, hardly anything surprises with the dysfunctional Texans these days.

Until then, the drama continues. But don't expect it to end the way Harden's tenure did.

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Houston loses in San Francisco

Astros drop back-and-forth middle game to Giants to even series

Houston's offense couldn't keep up with the Giants on Saturday. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images.

With the impressive win in the opener to start the series, the Astros entered Saturday's middle game against the Giants with an opportunity to not just secure the series but surpass San Francisco for the best record in the league. They'd have to wait to take that crown, as the Giants would out-slug the Astros to even the series.

Final Score: Giants 8, Astros 6

Astros' Record: 64-41, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Jay Jackson (2-0)

Losing Pitcher: Blake Taylor (2-3)

Teams trade blows early, Giants chase Greinke out early

The teams traded blows early in this one, with the Giants tagging Zack Greinke with six runs, all on homers. The first was a solo shot in the bottom of the second to start the scoring before hitting one in each inning through the fourth: two-run blasts in the third and fourth, then a go-ahead solo shot in the bottom of the fifth, putting them ahead 6-5 at the time. Greinke would face one more batter, allowing a single to end his lackluster day: 4.0 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 4 HR, 93 P.

Houston's offense kept things close to try and keep Greinke in a position to win, going up 3-1 in the third on a two-run Aledmys Diaz homer and another coming in on an error. After San Francisco scored four unanswered to make it 5-3, Diaz homered again in the top of the fifth to cut the deficit to one run before Yuli Gurriel would tie it with an RBI double.

Astros stay in it, but Giants even the series by winning the slug-fest

With Greinke exiting with no outs in the fifth, Houston handed the ball to Phil Maton, acquired in the recent Myles Straw trade, to make his debut for his new team. He worked himself into a jam, allowing a single and hitting a batter to load the bases with one out, but was able to get back-to-back strikeouts to strike out the side and strand all three runners, keeping it a one-run game.

That proved pivotal in the top of the sixth, as with two outs, Martin Maldonado would launch a game-tying solo homer, making it 6-6. Blake Taylor took over out of the bullpen in the bottom of the inning but would face just three batters, getting two outs while leaving one on as Dusty Baker moved on to Cristian Javier. Javier would watch the Giants retake the lead, getting back-to-back singles to bring in a run and make it 7-6.

Javier stayed in the game in the bottom of the seventh, allowing a leadoff single but erasing it by striking out the next three batters. Still a 7-6 game in the bottom of the eighth, Yimi Garcia made his Astros debut but did not keep the score there, allowing a leadoff solo homer to make it a two-run game. The 8-6 score would go final as Houston's offense came up empty again in the top of the ninth, setting up a rubber game in the finale.

Up Next: The series finale will get underway at 3:05 PM Central on Sunday in San Francisco. Luis Garcia (7-5, 3.19 ERA) will take the mound for Houston, going opposite Logan Webb (4-3, 3.36 ERA) for the Giants.

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