Rockets’ James Harden ruled unavailable with possible NBA punishment coming
The Houston Rockets are already starting their 2020-21 NBA season off on a bad note. The ruling was sent down on Wednesday that the Rockets season opener against the Oklahoma City Thunder has been postponed due to the Rockets not having enough active players to participate.
While Harden isn’t in the group of players that are going through contract tracing due to COVID-19 protocols, he still will be unavailable to play for an unforeseen amount of time due to his breaching of other health protocols, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski:
After the NBA declared James Harden "unavailable due to violation of health and safety protocols," it is still unclear to both Harden and the Rockets how long he'll be unavailable or whether he'll face league punishment, sources tell @ramonashelburne and me.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) December 23, 2020
The Rockets went through several scenarios on Wednesday after some players are currently undergoing COVID-19 testing. Players such as John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins are in quarantine due to contract tracing. Other players such as Kenyon Martin Jr. tested positive for the coronavirus. This resulted in the Rockets having many players on their roster unavailable and the Thunder matchup postponed.
The initial blame went to Harden after reports surfaced that the former MVP had been to the strip club in the past days, though Harden immediately went to his Instagram to refute those reports while voicing his displeasure with the media and how his name has been “dragged” lately. Harden has since tested negative on three consecutive days, per ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne.
The root of the problem boiled down to a group of players getting haircuts away from the facility, which could’ve possibly been the origin of where the players came in contact with COVID-19.
Harden’s future with the Rockets remains uncertain, and it definitely became stagnant with an impending punishment that could steer the few teams away that have gauged interest in him.