Paul Gallant created a religion to worship Houston's greatest G.M.

The church of Jeff Luhnow

Paul Gallant

For sports fans, nothing beats rooting for a sure thing.

Luckily for me, I've been #blessed #soblessed to grow up rooting for an actual demi-god: Thomas Edward Patrick Brady.

That beanie tho...

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I know, I know. Some of you are frothing at the mouth. Others are experiencing heart palpitations, shuddering as you recall a handsome gunslinger carving up a one loss team that thought letterman jackets were a fantastic fashion statement. Or yo-

"Your lord and savior is a cheating fraud, PAWL."


Does being a disciple of the TB12 method mean that I'm more likely to marry a super model? Or that I'd have been a successful quarterback into my late 40s if coach had given me a shot (clearly he was racist against skinny paste bois)? Or that . . . I'm better than you?

Probably. But don't fault me for my parents arbitrarily decided to have the sex / children in the greater Boston area being one of the chosen people. Instead, focus on this: if you're an Astros fan, YOU TOO have a sure thing.

Jeff. Luhnow.

Look at that legend, wheeling, dealing, and acquiring aces for nothing

Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

He landed Justin Verlander – and a World Series trophy – by trading a can of pringles and an oatmeal crème pie cookie. He acquired Gerrit Cole for a box of Lunchables Pizza and a Capri Sun.

"Nearly 50% of what you just said was inaccurate to some degree, PAWL."

I'm not even close to done. He drafted Carlos Correa and Alex Bregman, and found Yuli Gurriel. He took flyers on the oft injured Charlie Morton and Michael Brantley, and got MVP worthy play out of both. He's fine tuned the use of analytics SO MUCH that the Astros are practically speaking a different language than all of baseball. ALL OF THIS helped slowly turn the Astros from a total laughing stock into the best organization in baseball.

And on Wednesday, Luhnow outdid himself again. He acquired Zack Greinke – 10-4 on the season with a 2.90 ERA - from the Arizona Diamondbacks. Yeah, sending over two former first round picks ('18's Seth Beer and '17's J.B. Bukauskas) along with Corbin Martin and Josh Rojas was a lot. BUT, when you consider that he was able to keep BOTH of the Astros top prospects – Kyle Tucker and Forrest Whitley - this deal looks SIGNIFICANTLY more impressive.

Verlander. Cole. Greinke. And [arguably] the best lineup in baseball. Cancel the season. It's over. Go home.

I'm not a religious man. But Luhnow's greatness has touched something spiritually within me. And I want to share this feeling with ALL of you, through the power of worship. So guess what? I'm starting a religion. Introducing the Church of Jeff Luhnow.

Creating a religion is INCREDIBLY easy. Thanks internet! I became an ordained minister in less than five minutes here (and there are at least 10 alternative just as easy options) and filled out the necessary I.R.S. paper work (slightly more difficult since there are twoforms to fill out) for tax exemption. Will I use all future tax-free donations for my own personal gain to spread the word of Luhnow? You bet!

Per the internet, it only takes about 5 steps to create a religion. They are as follows.

1. Choose a focus, a central theme, idea, or person.

This one is easy. Jeff Luhnow – our sweet bilingual Mexican-American prince – is our lord and savior. And through his wisdom, we shall walk the path behind him towards enjoyable October baseball every year.

2. Create a central belief system, consisting of 2 or 3 main dogmas.

We only need 3.

  • Thou shalt not question Jeff Luhnow
  • Seriously, thou shalt not even think of such a thing

3. Create Rituals:

  • Win in all trades by aggressively bartering. Even if you're purchasing something from a vending machine, never pay unless you've had a hearty haggle session.
  • Always avoid trading top prospects, because there are lots of dummies in Major League Baseball, and you can always steal an elite pitcher from a team of poors.
  • Aggressively defend the importance of spin rate, even if you literally have no idea about its actual impact on a baseball match.
  • Constantly remind people that analytics are the future of baseball…
  • ...And that you're smarter than other people because you embrace those analytics. REMIND PEOPLE CONSTANTLY for full salvation.
  • And most importantly, persecute Rangers fans to the point of conversion. Good old fashioned Church Inquisition fun!

4. Pay attention to aesthetics, in terms of materials, symbols, etc.

Well, I did make a stained glass window of THE HOLY ONE for our future place of worship...

The perfect stained glass for your home!

Paul Gallant

…and this hat does make me look fat religious enough?

The Grand Tradesman himself.

Paul Gallant

5. Choose your own role. Who are you in this religion?

After atonement / self-flagellation for thesetwo heretical takes on the Gallant Says podcast, I declare my self the High Tradesman of the Church of Luhnow.

So, my new Luhnow-niites, follow me to glory. Trades be with you.

Paul Gallant hosts the "Gallant Says" podcast (Tuesdays & Fridays on iTunes), "Just Sayin'", Friday nights at 10:30 CT on Kube 57, and contributes to SB Nation Radio. Want to get in touch with him? Get after him on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook.

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The Rockets have plenty of draft capital to play with. Composite Getty Image.

The NBA Draft Lottery has come and gone and the Houston Rockets fell just a number short of winning the Victor Wembanyama sweepstakes.

With the intrastate rival San Antonio Spurs coming out of Tuesday holding on to the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, the Rockets came away with the No. 4 overall selection. The Charlotte Hornets took the No. 2 overall pick and the Portland Trail Blazers ended up with the third overall pick.

While not winning the lottery stings for Houston, the results give the Rockets flexibility in terms of what they can do in the draft. They could stick with the pick and select from a plethora of talent, or they could be aggressive and choose to trade up to select either Alabama forward Brandon Miller or G League Ignite’s Scoot Henderson.

Here is what Houston could package in a deal to Charlotte if the Rockets feel inspired by the Houston Texans and opt to move up and get their guy at No. 2.

Firstly, why Charlotte and not Portland, who sits at No. 3? The main reason for it is that the Trail Blazers, despite the lackluster 2022-23 season, are looking to get back up to championship contention in 2023-24 in what could be the last attempt to win with star guard Damian Lillard.

Because of Portland’s mindset, it would be less inclined to be enticed by future draft capital in a deal. When you look at Houston’s current roster there is also not a player the Rockets can include in a deal that would instantly jump the Trail Blazers into the contention conversation.

While Jalen Green, Jabari Smith and Alperen Şengün could be impact players for Portland, the Rockets likely don’t want to trade anyone from that group of players either, at least its pairing of Green and Smith.

So the focus now turns to the Hornets. Charlotte has a perennial star in LaMelo Ball on its roster already, but the team is in much more dire need of adding as much talent as possible.

The non-negotiable that will need to be included in the deal is Houston’s No. 4 overall pick. That is a no-brainer. The Rockets also own the Los Angeles Clippers’ pick (No. 20 overall) that could also be included in a potential trade with the Hornets.

While the Rockets no longer control their own draft picks in 2024, 2025 and 2026 due to the Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul trade in 2019, they do own the Brooklyn Nets’ 2024 and 2026 first-round picks.

A package of the No. 4 overall pick, the No. 20 overall pick in 2023 and either Şengün, Kenyon Martin Jr., Jae'Sean Tate or one of the Nets’ 2024 or 2026 first-round picks should be enough to get the Hornets’ attention.

In exchange, the Rockets can add Henderson, who averaged 16.5 points, 6.8 assists and 5.3 rebounds per game in the G League last season. They can also take Miller, who put together 18.8 points and 8.2 rebounds per contest for the Crimson Tide in college.

While it is a hefty price to move up, the Rockets would have secured its core of three players in Green, Smith and whoever they take at No. 2 in this scenario, and they can add on from there in the future through free agency and trades.

If Houston believes the final piece to its core is available at No. 2, then no price is too big. With the Rockets set on phase two, the flexibility they have is an interesting luxury.

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