The Rockets’ season opener against the Thunder on Wednesday night has been postponed because the team doesn’t have enough active players.
At least four members of the list are absent due to the COVID-19 contact tracing protocol, while others have tested positive for the coronavirus, according to the league. Star James Harden unavailable after violating NBA health protocol; he was seen without mask in a club last week.
“Three Houston Rockets players have returned positive or inconclusive tests for the coronavirus as part of the NBA testing program,” the NBA wrote in a statement. “Following the contact tracing protocol, four other players are currently in quarantine. Additionally, James Harden is unavailable due to a violation of health and safety protocols.
“All the other Rockets players were retested today, and all returned negative results. Houston has an additional player who is unavailable due to injury. As such, the Rockets do do not have the eight available players required by the league to continue tonight’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder. “
After the NBA declared James Harden “unavailable due to a violation of health and safety protocols,” Harden and the Rockets are still unsure how long he will be unavailable or if he will be punished by the league, according to sources. @ramonashelburne and me.
– Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) December 23, 2020
Harden is said to be unhappy in Houston, and his latest antic sends another message about what efforts he might be willing to make to force his exit.
The Rockets have new faces around the prolific goalscorer this year, adding John Wall and Christian Wood while losing Russell Westbrook and Robert Covington. They are on the verge of a painful reconstruction which will be made difficult by the future choices sent to the professions during the last two seasons. Dealing Harden would likely require a full commitment to organizational change.
After canceling Wednesday’s contest, the NBA fined Harden $ 50,000 for attending “a private indoor party on Monday, December 21”.
The NBA has yet to announce when the Rockets vs Thunder game will be played.