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Rockets’ James Harden was not among NBA stars on private conference call

James Harden, Chris Paul, LeBron James, Stephen Curry, Rockets

Several high-profile NBA stars held a private conference call on Monday, but the group on the line notably did not include Houston Rockets shooting guard James Harden, according to Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes. ESPN’s Kendrick Perkins, per Dan Feldman of NBC Sports, confirmed Harden was indeed absent.

The All-Stars that were on the call included: Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Chris Paul, Brooklyn Nets’ Kevin Durant, Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James and Anthony Davis, Kawhi Leonard of the Los Angeles Clippers, Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo, Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers, Golden State Warriors two-time MVP Steph Curry, and Harden’s teammate, Russell Westbrook.

Perkins shared that he specifically reached out to Haynes regarding the Harden omission. “I called Chris Haynes, and he clarified to me—from his knowledge—that James Harden was not on that call.”

The players sought to form a united front on the call, and reportedly stated their preference to complete the 2019-20 season as long as proper safety measures are put in place.

It’s unclear if there’s anything to be made of the 2018 MVP being left off the call—it’s entirely possible he wasn’t available.

For what it’s worth, the call was apparently arranged by players union president Paul, who’s reported rift with Harden in Houston last season led to him being dealt to Oklahoma City in exchange for Westbrook. And ESPN’s Brian Windhorst revealed in Feb. 2019 that, per his sources, “some of these guys do not like James Harden, and that came through. Some of the people were being very diplomatic, some of these guys do not like him.”

Harden is averaging a league-leading 34.4 points, 7.4 assists and 6.4 rebounds per game.