Disgruntled Houston Rockets star James Harden did not participate in the team’s first practice session at Sunday’s training camp due to NBA COVID 19 protocols, said coach Stephen Silas.
Silas said he’s scheduled to have a one-on-one training session Sunday night at the Toyota Harding Center, but the freshman coach also said he hasn’t spoken to the all-star defenceman recently. In fact, Harden has not returned to this practice, but has told Rockets management that he will soon report, a source told ESPN Sunday night.
Harden, who reportedly wanted to be replaced by Brooklyn Networks, posted photos on Instagram over the weekend showing him without a mask at rapper Lil Baby’s birthday party in Atlanta. This week the NBA has demanded that players be quarantined at home, except for testing in the team room, individual training and basic activities such as purchasing products.
I’m not sure what obstacles he has to go through to train with the team, said Silas, who has been hired to replace Mike D’Anthony in low season.
I just want to say I want him here, and I want him to be a big part of what we do. I am very happy to train him and I want him to be part of what we have just experienced, with a good training, with a group of guys who work hard at both ends of the field and have a good feeling for them.
Harden, who hasn’t been available to the media since the Rockets were taken out of the playoffs last season, put a smiling and depressing face on Sunday afternoon in his Instagram article.
Experienced rocket attacker PJ Tucker is also not allowed to train with the team because of COVID 19 league protocols. Silas stated that Tucker was at the Toyota center on Sunday morning and that a one-on-one training session was scheduled later in the day.
John Wall, who was bought last week along with his future first-round pick for Russell Westbrook in exchange for the top point guard, said he’s had a great conversation with Harden since the deal and certainly believes Harden wants to play for the Rockets this season. Wall said he and Harden, who has two seasons plus a third-year option on his contract, spoke for the exchange and said they wanted to play each other.
We are going to find out what the best solution is if he wants to come here and be here, said Wall, a five-time star of the Washington Wizards, who has been sidelined since December 2018 for heel and Achilles tendon injuries. We’ve been on the same side since I negotiated here.
Silas said Thursday that he had given Harden space, but predicted that the MVP 2017-18 would be complete when the rockets started team training. On Sunday, while Harden had not yet made his report, Silas adjourned when he was asked about the engagement of the star in Houston.
That’s the question you have to ask him when he gets here, Silas said. We’re glad he’s here and he’s starting his individual training. That’s the word I heard in the pipeline. Once he’s there, the best way for me to communicate in person is of course not by text message, phone or otherwise.
I can’t wait for him to get here, to come into the building, and then we can talk about what’s best. But, you know, it’s still going on.