At 4:24 CST on Wednesday, Shams Charania broke the news that the Oklahoma City- Houston Rockets game was postponed to a later date.
The Rockets were expected to have a line-up of 13 players entering this morning, with Ben McLemore (quarantining) and Chris Clemons (Torn Achilles) out. But news that 3 additional Rockets players would also be out surfaced when it became official Rocket K.J. Martin tested positive for COVID-19, he had been in a room with Rockets teammates DeMarcus Cousins and John Wall just a couple day before the news broke today. Both Cousins and Wall were ruled out due to contact tracing, and Rockets Forward Jae’Sean Tate was also investigated for tracing, but no official word was made on him.
Without even counting Tate, the Rockets were left with 10 active players on the roster, above the league minimum.
However; it was rumored that there was a fourth member in the room with Martin, Cousins, and Wall, and with Tate being thrown in that conversation, it is safe to assume he may have also been ruled out, cutting it to nine.
To put the icing on the cake for this game, the NBA and Rockets opened an investigation on James Harden this morning for a video of him at a party of some sorts. This event had zero masks and went against the league protocols, prohibiting members of teams to meet with 15+ people at gatherings. This was repeat offense for Harden as he was seen celebrating at Lil Baby’s birthday party and attending multiple Las Vegas clubs during the opening stages of training camp.
If Harden and Tate were ruled out, this left the Rockets with 8 players on the roster, but league officials ruled to postpone the game to a later date as opposed to playing. However; a tweet from Adrian Wojnarowski said that the Rockets did not meet the league required 8 players, so someone else also must have been traced.
Oddly enough, the Oklahoma City Thunder has been right of the thick of the first COVID related game cancellations for both the 19-20 and 20-21 season. As the Thunder’s game vs. the Utah Jazz had been pushed back after Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for the virus. And now this year, the Thunder are the first to have a game postponed with the Rockets having a razor-thin depth chart.
One can only guess how the league will approach the status of this game in the coming days, and what potential repercussions the Rockets may face.