Keeping it Raheel

Raheel Ramzanali: Texans training camp bingo

Bill O'Brien and unity will be a big topic. Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images

As we inch closer to players reporting for Texans training camp in West Virginia, we will be hit upside the head with tons of training camp stories from various outlets. Sure every training camp is different, but they really aren’t. That’s why I wanted to throw some bingo spaces out there for storylines that ALWAYS get covered or become a story. So grab your markers and mark off the imaginary board of Texans Training Camp stories:

  • A sports radio host complains about J.J. Watt’s social media activity: Few things rile up sports radio hosts like J.J. Watt’s posting pictures on JJ Watt. It usually starts with the host saying something like, “I don’t even follow the guys, but gosh I saw this picture he posted” and it turns into. “J.J. needs to focus on returning and playing more than just two games this year”. Sure it only takes a minute to take a picture and post it on social, but J.J. HAS TO FOCUS AND STOP SPENDING SO MUCH TIME ON SOCIAL MEDIA. Ugh, we sports radio hosts can be the worst.

  • The Inevitable defense vs. offense fight: Nobody likes a fight, but gosh these training camps are so long and guys get tired of hitting each other! These fights usually happen just days before the first preseason game or in a joint practice. Soon as one happens, mark it off your board!

  • Way too early cuts: Every day we will be hit with the “Here’s my way too early cuts” for training camp, but in reality those stories will be really off right up until the actual cuts are made.

  • Keke Coutee and Drake: Riding the popularity of In My Feelings by Drake, get ready to hear that song everytime Keke Coutee does something good on the field. Bonus: the Keke Coutee hype train. He has a chance to be a playmaker in this offense so you know the hype train is going to be on full speed with every single thing he does in training camp.

  • The offensive line caused Deshaun to get hurt: Maybe they did or maybe it was a missed assignment from a running back, but anytime the injury is brought up or the lack of talent on the O-line, get ready to hear about the injury.

  • Bill O’Brien Unity: The word unity will be thrown around  A LOT.

  • Houston weather vs West Virginia weather: We get it, it isn’t as hot in West Virginia as it is here in Houston.

  • Kiara Mia references: The Texans have a joint practice and preseason game against the 49ers so that means Jimmy Garoppolo will be the topic of conversation for a few days. Get ready to hear about his date with adult entertainer Kiara Mia.

  • “I think this a Super Bowl caliber team:” If everyone stays healthy, this team can win it all.

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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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