Houston Rockets star James Harden participated in the team’s practice on Monday after being cleared to return as per NBA’s COVID-19 protocols. According to coach Stephen Silas, he will make his preseason debut against the San Antonio Spurs (8 ET, NBA League Pass) on Tuesday too.
Along with Harden, PJ Tucker also arrived late at the team’s training camp and thus had to go through the League’s coronavirus protocols to be cleared to play.
“They were both at practice today and participated and were very good,” Silas was quoted as saying by nba.com.
“It was good to have them there, good to have their spirit there, good to have their veteran savvy, their smarts, their ability in so many different things that it was good to have. They were both here.”
According to reports, Harden had requested a trade whereas Tucker had asked for a contract extension.
Silas has reportedly spoken with Harden on Monday but the coach declined to comment on whether Harden had committed to a future with the Rockets.
“We had a good conversation, and I’m just gonna leave it at that,” Silas said. “You can ask him about his commitment and all that sort of thing. We had a good conversation. He was locked in. He was asking good questions. He was bringing up good points. We had a good discussion. So, that’s it. We talked basketball. I’m a basketball coach, and he’s a basketball player. We talked hoop today.
“So as far as his commitment to what we’re doing basketball-wise, he was right there. As far as the rumors and all the other stuff, I can’t speak to. Again, that’s a question that you’ll have to have for him. As far as a distraction, [it] really hasn’t been that much of a distraction. It’s been something that the media has been talking about quite a bit, and I’ve had to answer a lot of questions. But as far as our growth, and our kind of pushing forward this season, we’ve kind of been right on pace. Adding him and P.J. to the mix just makes it better. So, I see it as a positive.”
Both Harden and Tucker played out full practice sessions at the Toyota centre on Monday and Silas expects them to play against the Spurs on Tuesday, which will be the Rockets’ third exhibition match.