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The 5 worst trades in Houston sports history

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When the Houston Texans made the baffling trade with Arizona on Monday, it made no sense. Sending All-Pro receiver DeAndre Hopkins to the Cardinals for essentially a second-round pick and a broken down, overpaid running back instantly became one of the worst deals in the history of Houston sports. Most of the time, Houston teams are on the right end of trades. But there have been times that was not the case. A look at the five worst trades in Houston history:

5) Rockets trade Elvin Hayes to Washington for Jack Marin (June 23, 1972)

This move happened while the team was still in San Diego, but it belongs on the list. Marin was a decent player who had one All-Star season with the Rockets then fell off the map. Hayes became one of the league's best players, a Hall of Famer who helped lead Washington to a title and numerous Finals appearances. Hayes was a member of the NBA's 50th anniversary all-time team. He was dealt reportedly because of a personality clash with then-coach Tex Winter. Winter would last one more season. Hayes would thrive in Washington, eventually returning to Houston for the end of his career. Considered one of the best deals in Washington history, the Rockets were on the wrong end. The only reason this is not higher is that they were still the San Diego Rockets at the time. You could make a case for this one at No. 1

4) Rockets trade Moses Malone to Philadelphia (Sept. 15, 1983)

In a way, this trade worked out in that the Rockets were so bad they got back-to-back No. 1 picks, one being Hakeem Olajuwon, who would finally bring the team a title in 1993-94. But Malone was an MVP, the league's best rebounder and had just led the Rockets to the Finals two years before the deal. It was basically because ownership did not want to pay him as a restricted free agent, so the Rockets dealt him. Malone helped lead the 76ers to the title in 1983, and Malone would get his second straight MVP award. Basically, the Rockets dealt one of the best players in the league for a No. 1 pick that turned out to be Rodney McCray. McCray was an OK player, but not in the class of Malone. The only reason this isn't No. 1 is part of the deal was to tank, which eventually worked out. But trading perhaps the best player in the league in his prime as a salary dump was a bad look all around.

3) Astros trade Curt Schilling to the Phillies for Jason Grimsley (April 2, 1992)

The Astros had no idea what they had in Schilling, who was 3-5 with a 3.81 ERA and eight saves. All it took was a change of scenery and a move to the starting rotation and Schilling would go on to six All-Star appearances and three World Series appearances. Grimsley? He never pitched for the Astros and was released a year later. He would go on to a 15-year career and won as many as seven games just once.

2) Texans trade DeAndre Hopkins to Arizona (March 16, 2020)

Before you cry "recency bias," this trade was very similar to the Malone deal in that Hopkins is one of the best in the league, and the Texans basically got just a second round pick back for an elite player who is in his prime on a team-friendly contract. But throw in the fact that they took on a vastly overpaid, broken down running back that they probably could have gotten a draft pick just for taking him on...This deal makes no sense from a Texans standpoint. They got far too little for Hopkins, took on a bad contract from an oft-injured player and decimated the receiving corps in the process. The longterm ramifications of this deal could be even worse if Deshaun Watson decides he does not want to be in Houston because of the deal. This was Bill O'Brien's small-man syndrome ego at its very worst, and there is no way this deal looks better over time unless David Johnson reverts to his one career year, Will Fuller stays healthy and Hopkins falls off the map. Good luck with all of that. You don't trade one of the best players in the league if you are trying to compete for a title, and the Texans can't even be tanking because they have no picks. Dumb move all around.

1) Oilers trade Steve Largent to Seattle (1976)

The Oilers drafted Steve Largent in the fourth round in 1973. He was going to be cut at the end of camp, so they shipped him to Seattle for an 8th-round pick. All he did was become one of the all-time greats, playing 14 seasons, eight of them with at least 1,000 yards, and scoring 100 touchdowns. The Oilers clearly did not know what they had, and he never played a down for the team.

Honorable mention (6-10)

6) May 16, 1973: Oilers trade Kenny Houston to the Redskins.

7) Nov. 29, 1971: Astros trade Joe Morgan to the Reds

8) Sept. 1, 2019: Texans trade Jadeveon Clowney to Seattle.

9) Oct. 30, 2017: Texans trade Duane Brown to Seattle.

10) Dec 10, 1991: Astros trade Kenny Lofton to the Indians for catcher Ed Taubensee.

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J.J. Watt, the Houston Texans all-time leader in sacks (96.0), is entering his ninth season with the franchise ahead of what will certainly be an anomaly year for the NFL. Due to the ongoing pandemic of COVID-19, there is serious doubt that the NFL will be able to play a full 16-game schedule, while others express their concern with the league's inability to play any form of football come the fall of 2020.

There are a lot of uncertainties surrounding the league this coming season, which is becoming a theme for Watt's future in Houston.

The 31-year-old defensive end has two years remaining on his six-year, $100 million contract extension he signed in September of 2014. But as he prepares to embark on another year with the Texans through Zoom meetings with his teammates, a new contract is not on Watt's priority list.

"No, I don't think that's necessary," Watt told Houston reporters on Wednesday. "I fully understand and respect the situation that I'm in at the moment, and what's happened in the past few years, so I'm not gonna sit here and demand anything. I think if I went back and asked for an extension or more money, I think that would be the wrong move. I am just going out there to prove my worth and to help this team win games."

As of now, it is unsure what the future holds for Watt's career with the Texans. Should management re-sign the three-time Defensive Player of the Year winner (2012, 2014 & 2015), the question becomes: How much is Watt worth as he enters the twilight of his career? It's the subject that will be the driving force when discussing Watt's future with the team, and the segment that sparked a trade rumor of his departure to the Chicago Bears.

Although his on-field production remains extremely valuable, Watt has had a difficult time trying to stay healthy. Since 2016, he has missed 32 out of a possible 64 games due to an abundance of injuries. In 2019, Watt missed half of the season after suffering a torn pectoral during the Texans' 27-24 victory over the then-Oakland Raiders.

"My goal for every season is to do whatever possible to help this team win, and number one, that means staying healthy," he said. "You have to be on the field in order to help the team win, and then it is to play at the peak physical level I am capable of. It is just making sure I am in the best possible shape to perform that way."

Contract and injuries aside, the five-time Pro-Bowler is excited about his opportunity to play under new defensive coordinator, Anthony Weaver. During his introductory press conference two weeks ago, Weaver said Watt will remain the focal point for the Texans' defense in 2020, but acknowledged getting the future Hall of Famer through 16 games remains a hurdle.

After four seasons serving as Houston's defensive line coach, the Texans promoted Weaver to defensive coordinator in January to replace Romeo Crennel.

"I love [Anthony] Weaver... I think that he has a great mixture of knowledge of the game, experience, but also personality to be able to handle the players in the room," Watt said. "To be able to inject some fun and excitement into meetings, practice and everything, all while bringing the knowledge necessary to run a good defense."

Under the guidance of a new defensive coordinator, Weaver may be just the coach to help Watt rekindle the potential that made him an All-Pro defensive end. Regardless of the uncertainties surrounding his future at the conclusion of his contract, Watt is hoping he will have the opportunity to finish his career where it started — in Houston.

"That is a goal of mine, and this city [Houston] has been incredible to me since I got here," Watt said. "I don't know what's going to happen in the future, but I certainly hope that's the case."

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