THE PALLILOG

O'Brien's silence on Hopkins trade speaks volumes

Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Caveat ahead of the rest of this column: So much is trivial relative to the life and death and other critical Covid-19 pandemic issues, but sports matter as passions of so many, as multi-billion dollar businesses with impact on many other businesses, and beyond. All things in context.

We grind on. All we can do. As responsibly as we can. The line from the TV series Friday Night Lights comes to mind: "Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can't Lose." Not true of course, but still a great message. Now: "Wash Hands, Social Distance, Hang In There." Man it's a struggle for sports material these days.

Texans Head Coach and General Manager Bill O'Brien isn't exactly the most beloved sports figure in Houston these days, but give the man his due for donating 100 thousand dollars to the Houston Food Bank. Those so inclined, insert O'Brien donating DeAndre Hopkins to the Arizona Cardinals joke here. 100K will provide tens of thousands of meals to many people in need. Doesn't change the fact that on the professional side it is so weak that O'Brien has yet to speak publicly about his Hopkins deal that is as universally mocked as ridiculous as any trade I can recall. It's a virtual certainty it won't turn out to be the worst trade ever or even close, but at the time of the deal nobody other than (presumably) O'Brien himself, and maybe his right hand man Jack Easterby thinks the Texans made a reasonable exchange. Every expectation should be that upon questioning Emperor O will offer up variations of "Like all moves we make we do what we think is best for the football team." It's still part of his job to take the questions. Frankly, it's weak of Cal McNair to let O'Brien get away with it.

The NFL proceeds relatively undeterred. It's monstrosity of a draft extravaganza in Las Vegas won't happen, but the NFL Draft will in less than three weeks. Barring a highly surprising trade, the Texans sit out the first round Thursday night April 23. Part of the price for acquiring left tackle Laremy Tunsil who went on record this week saying he intends to become the new highest paid offensive lineman in the NFL. The Texans have reportedly offered a package averaging 18 and a half million dollars per season. That's a little over a million per Tunsil penalty (17, not counting three that were declined) committed last season. He's a very good should be entering his prime left tackle. Philadelphia right tackle Lane Johnson's extension signed last year averages 18 mil per season, presently tops among tackles. Johnson's deal also set the new tackle high with over 54 mil guaranteed.

Seems pretty obvious that 20 mil per season (at least) is Tunsil's hope. That's where ex-Texan Jadeveon Clowney was thinking as he entered unrestricted free agency. Not happening. No pity party necessary if Clowney winds up "settling" for, say, three years 45 mil. The Texans certainly could use him, and only the Browns presently have more available salary cap space. You don't suppose?

‚ÄčTake Me Out To The Ballgame. Someday‚Äč.

There is no chance of Major League Baseball starting its season within the next couple of months. I doubt A.J. Hinch and Jeff Luhnow are sharing a laugh about it, but they can't be unhappy to hear that if even if there winds up being no MLB games played in 2020, their season long suspensions will be considered served. Thing is, if no baseball is played, no team is going to fire a manager to hire Hinch for 2021, or an executive to put Luhnow in charge.


Astropologists may struggle to deal with it, but Evan Gattis this week became the latest ex-Astro to acknowledge how disgraceful their cheating system was. On an Atlanta based podcast within The Athletic Gattis offered this apt line: "It was wrong for the nature of competition, not even just baseball."

Simply Shameful

Re: those dozens of spoiled, self-entitled UT students now with coronavirus after chartering a plane to Cabo for spring break in the process spitting in the face of government advisory and any common sense. Are they sorry for their immensely irresponsible and selfish behavior that could ultimately impact many other people, or only sorry that they have coronavirus? If that.

Buzzer Beaters

1. Tom Brady is leasing Derek Jeter's 30-thousand square foot Tampa home. Think they haggled over the rental price? 2. Which is sadder: that ESPN intends to televise the entirety of a 16 NBA player NBA 2K video tournament, or that I'll probably watch some of it? 3. Top "should have beens" this weekend: Bronze-Ferociously contested Sunday softball Silver-Astros at Angels Gold-the Final Four in Atlanta

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Let him cook! Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

The Houston Rockets are in the midst of a rebuild. Jalen Green and Kevin Porter Jr are studs. KPJ just signed a four-year extension with the team. Other guys like Jabari Smith Jr, Kenyon Martin Jr, Alperen Sengun, Josh Christopher, Tari Eason, and Jae'Sean Tate are really good pieces to surround Green and KPJ with. The only issue with this group: they're REALLY young! Tate is the elder statesman at 27 of the young nucleus. Most are barely old enough to buy a drink. Some still aren't old enough! They're a bunch of green bananas waiting to turn yellow to slightly brown and be ripe enough for consumption.

We need to give it time. Just like bananas, they take time to ripen. Coach Stephen Silas is known for developing young players. His most prized student is the star player for that team in South Oklahoma up 45. Number 77 for that team credited Silas with helping him realize his All-Pro potential while Silas was a part of the coaching staff there. To a man, all his former players credit him with being a positive influence on their careers. So why are fans in a rush to get rid of him?

When you look at the Rockets' record over the last few years, it's gross. Sure, they've been a lottery team the last couple of seasons, but that was by design. As part of the Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook trades, they gave away pick swap rights. Had they not been that bad, they wouldn't have been able to draft Green or Smith Jr. Those two guys are building blocks for the future, along with KPJ. Giving those picks away would've put this team further down the totem pole of developing themselves into a contender. Losing pays off when you can hit on high lottery picks.

If you give a chef dirt, bread, ham, molded cheese, and spoiled mayo, can you expect anything else but a nasty ham sandwich? How about if the chef was given a steak that is almost rotten, potatoes with root growth, and spoiled butter? Could you expect a better meal than the sandwich? Yes! However, that meal may still cause a stomachache. Now, give said chef a full complement of gourmet groceries and guess what you'll get?

This is why I say let Silas cook. He's the perfect coach for this group of kids. He can teach them all the fundamentals of the game at this level and help them grow into their full potential. If there's a change to be made on the sidelines, move Silas into a front office role, but DO NOT get rid of him! Guys like him are too valuable. Why do you think Mark Cuban hated losing him, but knew he couldn't retain him because he had a head coach already? Cuban knew what he had in Silas and what Silas did for Luka Doncic. He can do something similar for the Rockets if given the time to work his magic.

Should Tilman Fertita find the need to move on, I'd look for a more experienced coach who can guide them from bottom of the playoff ladder into top four in the West and real contenders. For now, Silas is the head chef. Continue giving him the groceries he needs, and he'll continue giving these kids the lessons they need to develop. Changing the coach now could stunt their growth. Let him cook!

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