James Harden misses Rockets’ first practice, tells team he’ll report soon

Dancing Trousers

Rockets star James Harden missed the team’s first group practice on Sunday due to not having cleared the NBA’s COVID-19 protocols, writes Tim MacMahon of ESPN.

a man standing in front of a mirror posing for the camera: Houston Rockets guard James Harden failed to attend the team's first practice of training camp.

© Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Houston Rockets guard James Harden failed to attend the team’s first practice of training camp.

Head coach Stephen Silas said after the group practice that he expected Harden to participate in an individual workout on Sunday night, but the former MVP didn’t return for that workout, either, per MacMahon. However, Harden did tell Rockets management that he’ll report soon, a source informed ESPN.

Harden’s situation is worth keeping an eye on, since he reportedly sought a trade during the offseason. Silas told reporters last Thursday that he was giving the superstar guard “space,” as reports on that same day indicated that Harden wasn’t in Houston while the team took part in individual workouts. TMZ later reported that he had been in Atlanta for rapper Lil Baby’s birthday party.

The NBA’s coronavirus protocols called for players to quarantine at home last week except for essential activities, as well as workouts and COVID-19 tests at the team’s facility. Players were required to return three consecutive negative PCR tests before being cleared to participate in individual workouts.

It sounds like Harden will probably report to the Rockets and receive clearance within the next few days, at which point he’ll likely speak to reporters for the first time. His commitment to the Rockets figures to be the primary focus during that first media session — so far, his teammates and head coach have bore the brunt of those inquiries.

As MacMahon details, new Rockets point guard John Wall said this weekend that he had a “great talk” with Harden and “for sure” believes his new backcourt mate wants to play for the Rockets this season. Silas, meanwhile, said last Thursday that he expected Harden to be “all-in” with Houston for 2020-21. Asked again on Sunday about Harden’s commitment, Silas replied, “That’s a question you’re going to have to ask him when he gets here.”

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