We Talkin’ About Practice? James Harden Isn’t

Disgruntled superstar James Harden has not practiced with the Houston Rockets, head coach Stephen Silas told reporters on Sunday. Harden skipped individual workouts all throughout last week, and the latest update is that he skipped out on the team’s first group practice on Sunday. This development is particularly interesting because Harden requested a trade to the Brooklyn Nets about a month back. The Rockets, however, refuse to bow down to Harden or the Nets.

What we know: James Harden was recently spotted partying with hip-hop artist Lil Baby in Atlanta. Harden gifted the rapper $100,000 in cash for his birthday, and wasn’t wearing a mask in footage that later surfaced on social media. This would be a violation of NBA COVID-19 protocol, which requires players to quarantine at home this week with the exception of testing at team facilities, individual workouts and essential activities (i.e. grocery shopping).

So yes, it appears Houston does have a problem. The face of the franchise has demanded a trade and hasn’t reported to training camp as the team enters the second week of workouts. Head coach Stephen Silas said he hasn’t been in contact with Harden, but management said the All-Star told them he would report “soon.” It’s hard to make much sense out of all this. Perhaps someone should ask Lil Baby. 

Houston is set to play their first preseason game on Friday.