Houston Rockets star James Harden, who was originally expected to join the squad over the weekend, has finally arrived at Houston after a delay. Rockets’ coach Stephen Silas confirmed his arrival on Tuesday and said that Harden already got tested for COVID-19 at the Toyota Center as per NBA’s protocol.
“That’s pretty much all I know. Him getting tested in Houston is good for everybody,” Silas told nba.com.
There was a lot of confusion regarding Harden’s availability earlier. The team started their training camp on Sunday and Silas cited the NBA’s COVID-19 protocols behind Harden’s absence. On Monday, however, he classified the guard’s status as a ‘holdout’ and called is as a setback for the team. He also wasn’t sure about Harden’s time of return.
However, Silas seemed much more optimistic after Harden’s arrival on Tuesday. The Star Guard is expected to join the camp once he is cleared but Silas mentioned that he is yet to speak with him.
It is still unclear whether Harden will join the team’s preparations for their preseason opener on Friday at Chicago.
“Trust is built day to day, and once the relationship begins, we’ll begin that process of trust,” Silas said.
“Obviously, there wasn’t a great start to it, but that’s the NBA. The NBA is not going to be roses every day.”
Silas is still trying to implement his philosophies on a roster which has many new players. The Rockets lost as many as nine of their main players this season, which includes 2017 MVP Russell Westbrook, who was traded to Washington Wizards for a new point guard John Wall. They have also signed Christian Wood and DeMarcus Cousins on free transfer.
The coach, however, has firm faith on Harden that he will grasp everything the team has learnt in the first three days of the training camp.
“Elite players have a way of learning fast, fitting in and making everyone better,” Silas said. “There will be some sort of learning curve.”
Harden is under contract till the 2022 season but he had reportedly requested a trade earlier this off season. But the talks of it have died down ever since Houston’s conference semifinals series loss to the Lakers.