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Report: NBA says James Harden violated health and safety protocols [UPDATE]

Rockets superstar won’t be suspended for his violation and has been fined $50K instead.

James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets controls the ball during the first half of a game against the San Antonio Spurs at the Toyota Center on December 17, 2020 in Houston, Texas. Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports

Update: The NBA ruled that Harden violated the League’s health and safety protocols for Covid-19 and he was going to be deemed unavailable for Wednesday’s opener vs. the Thunder. That game has already been postponed due to multiple Covid-19 positive tests.

The NBA has fined Harden $50,000 for his violation of health and safety protocols. Strip clubs around the nation will hold of moment of silence for the $50K that likely would have been thrown around on Harden’s account. Harden will not be suspended for his violation, although the Rockets’ opener vs. the Thunder on Wednesday was postponed anyway.

The Houston Rockets host the Oklahoma City Thunder in their 2020-2021 season opener, and they might have to do so without star guard James Harden. Video circulated on Tuesday allegedly showing Harden at a strip club and not wearing a mask. The NBA is reviewing the video and if it is verified to be recent enough, it would be a violation of the league’s COVID-19 protocols.

Update: MacMahon is now reporting that Harden had Covid-19 over the summer, which is why he was late reporting to the NBA bubble in Orlando. Despite having Covid-19, Harden still has to follow protocols and can’t attend bars, lounges and clubs.

The NBA’s protocols require quarantine for potential exposure to the virus. If the video is deemed recent enough, it could result in a multiple-day absence for Harden, which would include the Wednesday opener. This comes a day after reports surfaced that Harden and the Rockets are reaching a boiling point. The All-Star allegedly threw a basketball at rookie Jae’Sean Tate (though it didn’t hit him). The relationship between the two sides is clearly not great entering the regular season.

Harden had reportedly asked to be traded to a contending team. He wanted to land either in Philly or Brooklyn with a few other spots as potential destinations — Miami and Milwaukee. Now, it appears it may be difficult to deal Harden given his salary, behavior of late, and the asking price from the Rockets.

If you drafted Harden in fantasy basketball, I don’t know what to tell you. Best case scenario is he plays and eventually gets drafted. Worst case scenario appears to be some sort of disciplinary action for possibly violating League rules. We’ll keep an eye out for any updates prior to Wednesday’s opener vs. OKC.