John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins and possibly more players are set to miss the Houston Rockets’ season opener against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday night due to COVID-19 contact tracing, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports Wall tested negative for the coronavirus, but a group of players were sent home due to another player testing positive. While Ben McLemore was already in self-isolation after testing positive a few days ago, there has been another positive test.
This comes amid more James Harden drama in Houston. The disgruntled Rockets star was recently seen out maskless at a club, and there’s an investigation into his actions. While he tried to clarify the situation, it appears he was in violation of COVID-19 protocols:
James Harden clarified that the event in question was not at a strip club. By doing so, he admits violating the NBA’s COVID-19 protocols, which prohibit players from going to bars, lounges or clubs or social events with more than 15 people. pic.twitter.com/K7GnJTxGBo
— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) December 23, 2020
Harden reportedly already tested positive earlier in the summer before going to the NBA bubble at Disney World, and this latest COVID-19 issue with the Rockets doesn’t have anything to do with him, according to Sam Amick of The Athletic. But even though Harden isn’t the source of this, many are wondering if he will wind up getting suspended for his behavior. Acting out and requesting a trade is one thing, but flaunting NBA protocols during a pandemic could very well lead to harsh punishment.
This is definitely a bummer for Wall and Cousins, who both missed all of last season due to major injuries. The former Kentucky teammates looked good in preseason, with Wall especially looking like his old self out on the court.
It’s unclear if the Rockets and Thunder will play this game as scheduled. ESPN’s Tim Bontemps says Oklahoma City hasn’t received any communication from the NBA about what’s going on, so as of now, there has been no postponement.