It's time to move on

Here's why the clock is ticking for the Rockets' front office

The time is now. Composite image by Jack Brame.

The Houston Rockets clearly have some big decisions to make with James Harden and Russell Westbrook. Harden has made an assertive effort to become a Net, so he can join Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in Brooklyn, and the Charlotte Hornets and New York Knicks are showing interest in Russell Westbrook.

So far, Rockets' GM Rafael Stone has welcomed back Trevor Ariza, along with a 2020 and 2021 first-round draft pick for Robert Covington, which the Rockets desperately needed. This move disappointed some of the Rockets' fanbase because of the affection they showed for Covington. But with every hour that passes before the NBA Draft this Wednesday night, the Rockets' front office gets closer to dealing Harden off to the Nets, as he wanted.

Monday night, it was reported that Harden turned down a $103 million dollar extension from the Rockets. Ever since Durant planted seeds inside of Harden's head in Los Angeles during a workout, Harden has pushed the Rockets to trade him to Brooklyn. The Rockets' front office became less likely to grant Harden's request because of the likely return they would receive from the Nets and the 76ers, who have also shown interest. Daryl Morey, former GM of the Rockets and now the President of Player Operations for the 76ers, did not like the idea of giving up Ben Simmons for Harden, so the Rockets moved on.

As the Rockets' front office patiently waits for a proper deal from the Nets, Westbrook's trade request has become difficult. The trade market for Westbrook has become slim, meaning only two teams want him, which is the Hornets and Knicks. Michael Jordan is focusing all his efforts to bring Westbrook to the Hornets. As many people know, Westbrook is signed with Jordan's company. Hopefully, Westbrook receives his request from the Rockets.

But why does Westbrook and Harden want out of Houston? It's because Harden and Westbrook were left out of the hiring process of Stephen Silas and Rafael Stone. Tilman Fertitta did not verbalize the hiring process with Westbrook and Harden. Both players felt left out which did not sit well with them.

Hopefully, the Rockets can complete the deals by Tuesday night because the draft is Wednesday, and draft picks are needed.

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The Houston Texans have just a couple of practices before their preseason debut. Here are 11 observations from Tuesday’s workout.

1.The offense stunk on Tuesday. It was inconsistent and resembled more of last year’s disappointing performances than any other practices in this training camp.

2. Davis Mills and his receivers had a few miscommunications on Tuesday. Mills sailed a pass to nobody when he and Brandin Cooks weren’t on the same page. There were some other throws to nowhere in the day. It was something that hadn’t been present at all in training camp to this point.

3. There were a few “good coverage” notes on Tuesday. Not to say there was one specific player, but a handful of team-level efforts that led to the note.

4. It wasn’t all wrong from the offense. After a pass to nowhere Davis Mills and the offense bounced back. It was a second down during a team drill and Mills fired a pass to Chris Moore for six yards. Rex Burkhead would pick up a first down on a rush a play later. A non-positive play last year on first down doomed this team. That hopefully won’t be the case for this year’s team.

5. Chad Beebe is going into his fifth season in the NFL, his first with the Texans. The former Vikings pass catcher has flashed a few times in training camp. He has an uphill battle being new to the team but is trying to make himself a factor.

6. Phillip Dorsett had a big catch over the middle. Davis Mills stood back and delivered as the offensive line held up and Dorsett reeled it in for a huge gain. No defenders were around him. It is between Dorsett and Chris Moore for the chance to be the slot wideout opening day. With Dorsett’s return to practice, it is becoming a fun camp battle.

7.Speaking of returns to practice, Tytus Howard was back. Howard has his reps managed and after practice, offensive line coach George Warhop Howard was “getting his wind” back. When Howard was having his reps managed rookie tackle Austin Deculus played at right tackle. Deculus looks much more consistent than minicamp and OTAs.

8. Kenyon Green is still out with an injury. It is getting to a critical time where the time missed might prevent the first-rounder from starting week one. Max Scharping hasn’t looked bad in his chances with the first team. Offensive line coach George Warhop said they believe in Green and his ability and he has been in meetings to stay up to date.

9. Ka’imi Fairbairn was perfect in one of the special team periods. He drilled all five kicks, each further than the last, and was crushing the football.

10. Derek Stingley was very sticky in some early reps on Nico Collins. The third overall pick is so smooth when he is working. Later his coverage forced a throw from the offense that had no chance of being completed.

11. The play of the day was made by Derek Stingley. The offense was about five or six yards out of the end zone needing a touchdown to win. With six seconds left on the clock, any completed pass that wasn’t a touchdown was game over. Davis Mills dropped back a step and fired to Nico Collins who Stingley covered. The rookie kept the second-year player out of the end zone to earn the defense a win. This was one of the better Stingley days and he did a lot of work. At one point, it looked as though he and Rex Burkhead had some words and almost led to an offense and defense scuffle, but it stayed to just some shouting. The rookie shined today.

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