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Mike D’Antoni insists NBA’s new emphasis on traveling won’t impact James Harden

James Harden, Mike D'Antoni, Rockets

The NBA recently announced a new emphasis on calling traveling violations in the 2019-20 season and beyond, and the natural reaction was to assume these changes were made with Houston Rockets star James Harden in mind. Harden’s patented step-back has come under intense scrutiny, with many complaining that he often gets away with traveling while executing the move.

However, Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni insists this isn’t the case, and he doesn’t think these new rules will have much of an impact on Harden (h/t Rockets Wire):

“Not James. They made a point to tell every head coach that [Harden’s step-back jumper] is not traveling. And it’s not traveling.

“Hopefully coaches will quit complaining, and hopefully you guys in the news will understand that’s not traveling.”

D’Antoni admitted Harden may sometimes gets away with the travel, like anybody else, but the move itself is not a travel:

“Now every once in a while, maybe there is [a travel], like anything else. But his patented move is not a travel. That’s the way it’s defined in the rulebook, and it isn’t.”

We’ll just have to wait and see if this turns out to be true and officials don’t change the way they officiate Harden. The 2018 MVP uses his step-back move to create separation on his 3-point shots, which is so difficult to stop as an opponent. The Rockets star has also been working on a new move this summer, though it’s not known yet whether he’s actually going to put this to use in games.