Rumor: James Harden’s voyage to NBA bubble linked to Russell Westbrook’s coronavirus
Not all of the Houston Rockets have settled in Orlando for the NBA’s 2019-20 season restart initiative, as the team’s stars Russell Westbrook and James Harden remain away from the rest of the team. Luc Mbah a Moute also hasn’t yet traveled to Disney World.
Westbrook tested positive for the novel coronavirus and announced his diagnosis over social media on Monday, leaving many to wonder if Harden had stayed behind for the same reason.
According to Shams Charania of Stadium, Harden is feeling “fine.” The Rockets star is working out and may travel alongside Westbrook once the latter renders two negative COVID-19 tests, clearing him to join the rest of his teammates in Orlando:
A source tells our NBA Insider @ShamsCharania that Rockets star James Harden is feeling fine, working out and may travel with Russell Westbrook to Orlando when Westbrook clears from coronavirus. pic.twitter.com/O8CsLBxGJK
— Stadium (@Stadium) July 14, 2020
“Feeling fine” is generally the statement that follows a positive test, but the fact that Harden is working out suggests he might not have contracted the virus, which would be contrary to what was reported by Elite Media Group on Monday:
This positive test happened in the days leading up to travel into the bubble, which is why he didn’t accompany the Rockets to Orlando. https://t.co/DxTayY1YEY
— Elite Media Group (@TheEliteMedia_) July 13, 2020
Much like Westbrook, who had been spotted partying it up poolside at a Las Vegas hotel exactly a month before he confirmed his diagnosis, Harden was also seen enjoying his freedom amid the NBA hiatus.
Due to the popular nature of both athletes, many drew their own conclusions, considering the majority of the team went wheels up to Orlando while leaving their two most vital cogs behind.
But according to Charania’s report, Harden is doing well and working out on his own. Harden and Westbrook are thick as thieves and often enjoy each other’s company off the court, making this the natural course of action as they ready up for a July 30 resumption of play.
The Rockets entered the hiatus with a record of 40-24, which is sixth in the Western Conference. They’ll need Harden and Westbrook at full strength to make a deep playoff run.