Every-Thing Sports

Jermaine Every: Some names to watch as possible future Rockets

Gerald Green was an underrated signing. Is there another one out there to be made? Rockets.com

LeBron has opted out of his contract with the Cavs and decided to sign a four-year deal with the Lakers. Paul George decided to stay with the Thunder. The Rockets went on to re-sign Chris Paul to a four-year, $160 million-dollar deal, although they lost Trevor Ariza to the Suns. The team is also in negotiations with restricted free agent Clint Capela. The Rockets have the right of first refusal since Capela is restricted. Meaning, if another team signs him to an offer sheet, the Rockets have seven days to match. So far, no team has signed Capela to an offer sheet. This bodes well for their chances to retain him at a relatively decent salary, and sans any poison pills. Also, bringing back Gerald Green on a veteran minimum deal was underrated.

So what’s next for the Rockets? What will they do now? They drafted a couple guys in the second round in De’Anthony Melton (6’4, 200lbs) and Vincent Edwards (6’8, 225lbs). Melton is a slashing defender, while Edwards is a solid 3-point shooter. Neither is expected to contribute much this season. If I had to say who is more likely to see more valuable court time this year, I’d say Edwards. He can step into the small forward/wing role vacated by Trevor Ariza. Melton may only see garbage time, or may earn more time as a defensive replacement.

There are still free agents to pursue that can help this team. But the team doesn’t have the cap space to sign any high dollar guys and will once again have to bargain buy. Here are a few guys I believe Daryl Morey can secure at a reasonable price:

Avery Bradley, Guard

Bradley is the type of “three and D” guy you need on the perimeter. He’s a proven veteran who remains unsigned. Paul has an extensive injury history and Bradley can provide valuable backcourt depth. Someone like him can aid in the loss of Ariza as he can help fill the quarterback of the defense role on the court. UPDATE: Bradley agreed to a deal with the Clippers.

Isaiah Thomas, Guard

I know. I know. He’s a wee fella that’s a defensive liability. But his scoring punch off the bench at the backup point guard spot could work wonders. Thomas had an injury-plagued year and may be willing to take less money and a lesser role to rehab his image in hopes of one last payday.

Luc Mbah a Moute, Forward

His shoulder injury wasn’t fully healed and it seemed to affect him mentally in the playoffs. He’s 31 now and shouldn’t command much more than a veteran minimum contract to return to the Rockets. It’d be worth it to see if he can be the contributor they expected him to be last year.

Jeff Green, Forward

Green missed the ’11-’12 season due to a heart issue. Now that he’s been back and playing well for a few years, his love of the game has been evident. Last year, he proved valuable for the Cavs’ run to the Finals. A long athletic guy that is a willing defender and can score would be a welcomed edition.

Jamal Crawford, Guard

Crawford is a consummate professional who won the NBA Teammate of the Year Award in his 18th season. Crawford is a scoring savant still at age 38. The Warriors and Sixers are teams rumored to be in pursuit. This signing would not only strengthen the Rockets, but keep a potential scoring threat away from their biggest rival.

Honorable Mention:

Alex Len, Center; Jahlil Okafor, Center; Rodney Hood, Forward; Yogi Ferrell, Guard

All of these guys are still out there and unsigned after the initial wave of free agency. None of them should command an outrageous salary because none of them are superstar caliber players. The Warriors just got even stronger with the addition of Demarcus Cousins (I have thoughts on this tomfoolery, but that’s another article). The Rockets can’t match talent with them, so they’ll need to add pieces that fit their puzzle. The better pieces, the better the fit, the better their chances are of knocking off the Warriors. Oh…and they have to watch out for that guy in Los Angeles also.

 

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Watson's accusers appeared on Real Sports on Tuesday night. Photo by Nick Cammett/Getty Images.

HBO Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel’s heavily promoted and much anticipated examination of Deshaun Watson’s legal mess involving alleged sexual misconduct shed little new light and merely presented a summary of well worn he said/she (x22) said accusations and denials.

The episode debuted Tuesday night on the premium cable service and will be repeated dozens of times throughout the week on HBO’s platforms. Check your local listings for times and channel.

The segment was hosted by Soledad O’Brien who presented compelling face-to-face interviews with two of the quarterback’s accusers: massage therapists Ashley Solis and Kyla Hayes. Their stories were detailed and graphic. Both cried during the interviews.

Solis: “As I’m working, he deliberately grabs himself and put his penis on my hand. I pulled my hand away instantly and I started crying. I told that I’m done. I don’t want to do this anymore.”

Solis said she felt threatened when Watson, before leaving the session, allegedly told her: “I know you have a career to protect, and I know that you don’t want anyone messing with it, just like I don’t want anyone messing with mine.”

Solis added, “That’s when I got really scared because that sounded like a threat to me.”

Hayes: “He wanted me to kind of make a V motion in his pelvic area. I just kept massaging and did what he asked, until his penis kept touching me repeatedly as I did it.”

Hayes said that Watson had an orgasm, which she said was “mortifying, embarrassing and disgusting.”

O’Brien asked Hayes why she continued to have contact via email with Watson after their encounter.

Hayes: "I wasn't sure what he was capable of. He could've physically assaulted me. He could've bashed my business, so I had to protect myself and my business the best way I saw fit. Did I ever see him again after that? No. Did I give him the runaround? Yes."

O’Brien pointed out that two separate grand juries in Texas heard criminal accusations against Watson and neither found enough evidence to indict him.

Solis and Hayes, and 20 other massage therapists have filed civil suits against Watson. The cases aren’t expected to reach a courtroom until next March. Both sides could reach a settlement before then which would effectively shut down any legal action against Watson. However, both sides say they aren’t interested in any pretrial settlements. That’s what they say now, anyway.

After being banished to the sidelines for the 2021 season by the Houston Texans, Watson signed a historic, 5-year fully guaranteed $230 million contract with the Cleveland Browns.

Hayes said she feels Watson “is being rewarded for bad behavior." Solis said, "It's just like a big screw you. That's what it feels like. That we (the Browns) don't care. He can run and throw, and that's what we care about.”

Watson currently is participating in preseason workouts with the Browns and, at the moment, is cleared to play the upcoming NFL season.

That is unless the NFL suspends Watson for some, most or all of the 2022 season. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has said the league is nearing completion of its independent investigation into Watson’s case and will reach a decision “shortly,” probably this summer. The NFL and NFL Players Association mutually agreed to have former U.S. District Judge Sue Robinson decide whether or not Watson violated the league’s Personal Conduct Policy and what discipline should be handed down if he did.

The Browns are scheduled to play the Texans on Dec. 4 at NRG Stadium in Houston.

O’Brien said, while producing the Real Sports piece, she tried to interview Watson, his attorneys and the Cleveland Browns for their side of the story. All declined.

During a press conference in March to announce his joining the Browns, Watson denied any inappropriate behavior with the massage therapists.

Watson: “I never assaulted any woman. I’ve never disrespected any woman. I was raised to be genuine and respect everyone around me. I’ve never done the thing that these people are alleging. My mom and my aunties didn’t raise me that way.”

Leah Graham, a member of Watson’s legal team, sat for an interview after O’Brien’s segment was complete.

Graham: "It's 22 women. It's one lawyer. There's only one lawyer who was willing to take these cases. And as we know from Ashley Solis’ deposition, Mr. (Houston attorney Tony) Buzbee was not the first, probably not the second or third lawyer she went to, but he was the only one to take her case. Why? Not because it had merit, but because he would use these cases to increase his social media following and quite frankly to get on shows like this one.”

My reaction after watching the Real Sports segment? We weren’t in the room when the massage therapists worked on Watson. We weren’t in the grand jury room when evidence against Watson was presented. We don’t know what happened. We don’t know what will happen if these cases go to trial.

Until then all we have is one big, lurid, embarrassing mess. In American courtrooms, defendants are presumed innocent. That’s often the opposite in the court of public opinion. We’ll just have to wait while the wheels of justice grind painfully slow.

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