Culture change coming soon

Here's why the Rockets should trade James Harden sooner than later

How much time does Harden have left in Houston? Photo by Getty Images.

This offseason has been a debacle for James Harden and the Houston Rockets. Rockets head coach Stephen Silas has already gone through trials and tribulations with both Russell Westbrook and Harden. Silas took the job because of the excitement Westbrook and Harden bring, and he thought he had their approval of becoming their head coach. But it didn't take long before Westbrook was traded to the Washington Wizards for John Wall, and Harden made it known that he wants out.

All the players seemed eager to get started and reported to individual workouts and training camp at Toyota Center, except for James. Harden was in Las Vegas having a good time with rapper Lil Baby and friends. On Sunday and Monday, during press conferences, Silas seemed frustrated after Harden told management he would report to camp on Sunday evening.

"There is no timetable, as far as I know, it is a setback. You want your best player to be here," as Silas said Sunday evening after practice. "He's not here, and he has a reason, but that's on him to tell whoever what the reason is."

As of Tuesday, Harden finally left the party atmosphere to report to training camp. Since Harden was seen without a mask inside of Drai's Nightclub, his COVID results must comeback negative six times. Although the testing procedures can be a slight inconvenience, Silas seemed optimistic and energetic about his appearance at training camp.

"Him [Harden] being here shows a level of commitment to what we have going on," as Silas said about Harden coming to camp.

Even though Harden returned to camp, the situation became stressful because of the trade request he asked for. Reports were saying that Harden wanted out when Silas was hired as the Rockets' head coach. The organization dealt with the same chaotic situation in November when Harden requested a trade the first time. Honestly, the Rockets should honor Harden's request, so no feuds occur with Silas or his teammates.

Although Harden requested a trade, his teammates will still feel comfortable when he makes an appearance in a Rockets uniform. Gerald Green, John Wall, and DeMarcus Cousins are hoping Harden can accept the energy of the Rockets' culture and make the right decision for himself.

"All we can control is what we control. The guys that are here, we're coming out working every single day", as Cousins told the media. "Hopefully, whenever it is he comes in and joins in, he matches the energy of the group."

Green wants the Rockets and Harden to co-exist, so they're able to win a championship this upcoming season. If not, he wants Harden and the Rockets to make the right decision so the team can succeed long-term.

So far Harden has added the Milwaukee Bucks and Miami Heat to his preferred trade destinations, to go along with the Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers.

There is no point in trading with the 76ers if they will not give the Rockets Ben Simmons in exchange for Harden. The Rockets already said Kevin Durant or Kyrie Irving must be included if they want Harden in a Nets uniform. The Bucks would possibly have to give up Khris Middleton, Donte DiVencenzo, and first-round draft picks which could be between 25-30 overall in the draft. Meaning, a third team would likely have to be involved for the Rockets to make a deal happen with the Bucks. If the Rockets make a deal with the Heat, however, hopefully that trade package includes the talented Tyler Herro.

Herro erupted for 37 points against the Boston Celtics in the playoffs, which was in Orlando at the bubble. He would be exactly what the Rockets need because of his elite shooting, and he's only 20 years old. Herro made the All-Rookie team in the 2019-2020 season by shooting 39 percent from the perimeter. Even though Herro averaged 13.5 points per game as a rookie, he averaged 16 points per game and shot 37.5 percent from the perimeter in the playoffs.


Tyler Herro 37 Pts Full Game 4 Highlights | Celtics vs Heat | September 23, 2020 NBA Playoffs youtu.be


For now, it's a wait-and-see situation for Rockets fans. The season starts in two weeks, but the Rockets first preseason game is against the Chicago Bulls this Friday night. Hopefully, Harden and the Rockets come to an understanding or a trade happens before the regular season starts.

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The Astros will look to bounce back after a tough week. Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images.

After a 6-3 record to start the season, the Houston Astros had a tumultuous week to say the least. They were swept by the Tigers, lost 2 of 3 games to the Seattle Mariners and placed five players on the COVID injured list.

The Tigers' new manager AJ Hinch returned to Minute Maid Park for the first time since the Astros let him go after the cheating scandal in early 2020.

The Tigers swept the Astros and outscored them 20-8 over their three matchups.

Before the 3rd game of the series, the Astros found out they would be without five players on their active roster. Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, Yordan Alvarez, Martin Maldonado and Robel Garcia were all placed on the COVID-19 injury reserved list.

"It's hard on the team but you have to carry on. The show must go on," manager Dusty Baker said. "And it went on today with some younger players we have here."

Garrett Stubbs, Taylor Jones and Abraham Toro were called up as well as Alex De Goti and Ronnie Dawson who made their major league debuts last week.

The Tigers were able to score runs early on Zack Greinke, Lance McCullers and Jake Odorizzi (who made his Astros debut) and none of these starters lasted more than five innings in the outings.

Yuli Gurriel was the one Astros bright spot against the Tigers as he had 7 hits and drove in 2 runs. He is still continuing to hit the ball consistently as he finished the series with a .429 batting average.

After a 1-5 home stand the Astros looked to bounce back on the road against the division leading Seattle Mariners (you read that correctly).

Friday night proved to be the Astros' best offensive performance since their home opener on April 8th against the A's.

They scored five runs on Yusei Kikuchi through 7 innings behind good hitting from Aledmys Diaz, Chas McCormick and De Goti who drove in two runs on his first major league hit.

The Astros had a 5-2 lead at this point, but Seattle was able to score 4 unanswered to win the game.

Bryan Abreu, Blake Taylor and Ryne Stanek were credited with those four runs.

Ryan Pressly tried to clean up the bottom of the 9th inning after Stanek put the first two batters on base. His effort was unsuccessfully as Ty France hit a game-ending single that scored J.P. Crawford from second to secure a Mariners victory.

Saturday was the best game of the week for the Astros as they finally broke their six-game losing streak.

After failing to pitch more than five innings on Monday against the Tigers, Zack Greinke threw eight shutout innings with 91 pitches.

He struck out six batters and gave up only 4 hits.

"That's what aces do," Astros manager Dusty Baker said. "Guys like (Greinke) ... they stop the bleeding and we're about bled out."

Greinke finished the game with 2,705 career strikeouts. He is now third amongst active players in strikeouts behind Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander.

Ryan Pressly got some redemption too as he threw a perfect 9th inning giving him his first save of the year.

The Astros won this game 1-0 as Taylor Jones drove in the game's only run with an RBI single.

Sunday's game ended the Astros week with a whimper, as the Mariners bested Houston 7-2.

Jake Odorizzi got off to a good start, but he gave up three hits and was pulled after Mitch Haniger's fifth-inning triple made it a 3-2 lead over the Astros.

Odorizzi is now (0-2) with a 10.57 ERA after two starts with the Astros.

Houston's offensive woes continued Sunday, as Aledmys Díaz had their only hit, an RBI double in the second inning that fell in when outfielder José Marmolejos lost the ball in the sun.

"It's tough to take when you only got one hit and the one hit we got was lost in the sun," Baker said.

UP NEXT: The Astros (7-8) will finish their road trip with a two game series against the Rockies who have the worst record in the league (4-12) before starting an eight-game homestead.

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