Wednesday morning, sources told ESPN’s Tim MacMahon that the NBA in addition to the Houston Rockets were looking in footage from last week (obtained from Black Sports Online) displaying Harden at what looked to be a party of some sorts.
Harden published a statement on the matter just hours after the investigation had begun. Harden responded, on Instagram, saying, “One thing after another, I went to show love to my homegirl at her event (not a strip club) because she is becoming a boss and putting her people in position of success and now it’s a problem… No matter how many times people try to drag my name under you can’t. The real always end on top.”
If Harden’s video had been taken in the past week, he could face disciplinary action via the NBA or his team. The NBA released a COVID-19 protocols booklet for all members of NBA teams to follow, in it it explicitly says that members around the team should not be in gatherings of over 15 people, no matter the place.
These reports come out just a week after Harden attended Lil Baby’s birthday party, and various clubs in Las Vegas, in the days leading up to the Rockets training camp.
With reports of Harden seemingly breaking protocol for the second time in two weeks, a action taken by the league may be inevitable. One such punishment that could be taken: fines and/or suspensions. As the NBA is continuing to look into Harden’s situation, do not be surprised if they rule him ineligible for Wednesday’s opener vs. the Thunder.
For the Thunder, barring Harden is not available, this should be a very winnable game for them as their only players sitting out are Theo Maledon (personal) and Ty Jerome (left-hand.)