‘Awful’: Former Houston Rockets’ Coach Comments on the Unfortunate Postponement of Season Opener

Published 12/24/2020, 1:15 AM EST
Dec 15, 2020; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets guard John Wall (1) comes up with a loose ball in front of San Antonio Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge (12) during the first half. Mandatory Credit: Mike Wyke/Pool Photo via USA TODAY Sports


As the James Harden saga continues, the Houston Rockets had to face another nightmare right before their season opener. The matchup against Oklahoma City Thunder has been postponed because two of the Rockets’ players have tested positive for the Coronavirus.

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Also, after the league called in an investigation into Harden’s violation of COVID-19 protocols, Houston is left without the league-mandated eight layers necessary to play a game.

How did James Harden violate protocols?

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After the Rockets once again got quickly eliminated from the playoffs, they went through a front office overhaul. This led to the firing of coach Mike D’Antoni. Even general manager Daryl Morey left them to join the Philadelphia 76ers.

As soon as the offseason began, Harden requested to be traded to the Brooklyn Nets. This is a demand the Rockets could not meet. At least not until they get a deal good enough to let go of their best player. So Harden protested this by not showing up to training camp and was seen partying on certain occasions without a mask, clearly violating the health and safety protocols outlined by the league.

As a result, he was fined $50,000. And now, with more troubles ahead, the Rockets may have to wait awhile before they can make their debut in the 2020-21 campaign.

DENVER, CO – NOVEMBER 20: James Harden (13) of the Houston Rockets bites his beard during the first quarter against the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday, November 20, 2019. (Photo by AAron Ontiveroz/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

Former Houston Rockets coach opens up about the situation

With a potential COVID-19 spread, the league decided to put a hold on their match against OKC. So far, Rookie KJ Martin and Ben McLemore have tested positive. Some players have also been quarantined to ensure they follow proper contact tracing procedures.

Former Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy reacted to the game being postponed.“Everybody knows in the NBA that things are going to crop up this year. And it’s going to impact teams greatly. And players,” explained Jeff. “If you happen to contract the virus, you’re going to be out for quite a bit of time.”

Jeff emphasized that contact tracing will create problems for other players as well. He also focused on the importance of being not just a team player, but a responsible citizen. However, he empathized with the NBA and stated, “It is an awful way for the Rockets, and the Oklahoma City Thunder and the NBA to start out a new season.”

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Is this just a start to what could be a potential reason for the league to go on hiatus again? Or is this just a small hiccup they have to bare with?

 

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Yashima Bhatia

1122 articles

Yashima Bhatia is an NBA writer for EssentiallySports who specialises in providing nuanced predictions and updates for matches. She has a Bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communication. Yashima's love for playing the game came up at a young age, when the excitement of the games coupled with the intensity of the Playoffs had her hooked.

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