Every-Thing Sorts

GM O'Brien is growing on me

Photo via: Screenshot/@MarkBermanFox26

When news came of the Jadeveon Clowney trade to the Seahawks, I said it was another bad move. He gave away a freak of an edge rusher for some loose cigarettes and off brand soda. Trading yet another failure of a third round pick in offensive lineman Martinas Rankins to the Chiefs for running back Carlos Hyde was blah. Sure, you get something for a guy you were going to cut, but you got another guy who's been seen as a failure. He adds a big body to the backfield and depth in lieu of losing Lamar Miller for the season. Just when Texans fans were losing their minds on social media, Bill O'Brien said hold my beer. He acquired left tackle Laremy Tunsil and wide receiver Kenny Stills from the Dolphins in exchange for Julien Davenport, Johnson Bademosi, two first round picks and a second rounder.

Going for it

THIS is the type of move a team makes when it's going for it! You have a franchise quarterback in Deshaun Watson. He needs to be protected. When they failed to draft Andre Dillard and let the Eagles swoop in front of them, they went to plan B. Turns out plan B wasn't so hot because the two tackles they drafted, are now their starting guards. Go figure. Plan C seems to be the right move as Tunsil is under contract for two more years before he's eligible for an extension.

Chess move

Because Tunsil is under contract for two more years on his rookie deal, it allows you time before you have to pay him top five left tackle money. Tunsil is set top make $2.149 million and $10.35 million this and next season. He's widely considered a top 10 player at left tackle. You have to pay to play. Getting a guy this young of his caliber was going to cost you. The Texans have plenty of cap space to resign him and Watson when the time comes. This'll give your franchise quarterback a chance to truly realize his potential by him not having to run for his life. Much easier to play quarterback alive rather than dead. Stills adds a more reliable target opposite DeAndre Hopkins. Should Will Fuller or Keke Coutee get hurt (it's inevitable), Stills is a vet who can be relied upon.

No more excuses

I believe this is where the excuses run out for O'Brien. He's got a left tackle to protect Watson. Stills adds depth to an unreliable receiver corp. Hyde gives them a big back as Duke Johnson isn't a banger and Miller is out. Sure they could use some help at defensive back, and they lost Clowney off the edge, but this will help bolster the offense. If the defense can be slightly above average, this offense should put up points. Colts, Jags, and Titans are all ripe for the picking. This team is now squarely taking aim at the top contenders in the AFC.

Ultimately I think these moves will work out. In totality, O'Brien managed to move Clowney, a motherload of picks, and some scrubs for Tunsil, Stills, a third rounder, and a couple scrubs. In order to get to where you want to go, you've got to be willing to take some chances and gamble. This is a huge gamble. It's as if he pushed all his chips in the middle of the table and said f--k it! Gambles like these can pay off huge because you're getting a proven commodity at your greatest position of need. Yes, it hurt to lose what they lost. But what good trade doesn't hurt a little? Some of us could learn something here. Risks are risks because of the potential backlash. They become rewards if they pay off. Weigh your risk versus rewards and make a move. Can't live life hoping and wishing. Fans clamored for offensive line help. They trashed the Clowney deal. Now what? Let it play out. I for one think I'm going to enjoy the way this works out. Either the Texans will ascend into a real contender, or they flame out and O'Brien is fired. I think it'll workout for the better. This fan base could sure use it.

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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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