WHEELING AND DEALING

Texans trade Tackle Brown to Seattle for DB Lane, draft picks

Duane Brown was shipped to Seattle in a trade on Monday. Tim Warner/Getty Images

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Bob McNair looks like he is not someone to be trifled with. Duane Brown sat out seven weeks of the NFL season because he felt that his contract -- that had no guaranteed money on it -- was not worthy of his status as a top tier left tackle. The only reason he returned to play in week 8 was because the Texans would have been able to void the current year on his contract if he didn't show up by that deadline.

He played well against the Seahawks in his first action back after a long layoff, and now it appears that was an audition for the team he would be traded to.

In a surprising, but not too surprising deal just before the deadline; the Texans have now traded Brown to those same Seahawks for immediate help on the defense and some long-term picks in the draft. Reports indicate the trade consists of the Seahawks receiving Brown and the Texans receiving cornerback Jeremy Lane and a 2018 5th round pick and a 2019 2nd round pick.

Right off the top I see both teams immediately benefitting from the trade. If the 41-38 shootout didn't make the Texans secondary problems obvious then I don't know what to tell you. Lane adds another piece to that group that may help them to long run. In addition, they can surely use all the draft picks they can get after trading away so many to the Cleveland Browns to get Deshaun Watson and to get rid of Brock Osweiler.

Obviously, the Seahawks get a great left tackle to help them shore up their offensive line problems and that can help them stay alive for another playoff run. The Texans will lose their best offensive lineman but since they have managed without him in the first 7 weeks, I don't think they saw it as too much of a loss. 

Brown was also critical of McNair after his now infamous "inmate" comments.

This looks like a win/win for both teams. Brown is a top tier left tackle so the Texans were right to get plenty of compensation. Lane may help them now and Romeo Crennel might be able to put him into the right situations to help the defense. The additional draft picks are always great because the more chances you have to pick good players, the more chances you have to hit on a winner. The Seahawks get to improve up front with a guy who doesn't have guaranteed money on his contract and the ability to negotiate fresh for the few years he has left in the league. The Texans get help now and the chance for more in the future.

 

 

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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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