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#pounditFriday, May 7, 2021

James Harden

Rockets coach out of patience with James Harden’s absence

James Harden

James Harden still has yet to report to training camp with the Houston Rockets, and it’s quite clear that his coach is not happy about it.

Stephen Silas admitted Monday that he does not even know if Harden is in Houston or not, and made clear that he is frustrated by his star guard’s absence.

“There is no timetable, as far as I know,” Silas said of Harden’s possible report date, via Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. “It is a setback. You want your best player to be here.”

Silas took it a step further when asked if he had any clarity on what Harden’s absence conveyed to the rest of the team.

“I take it basically at face value that he’s not here,” Silas said, via James Herbert of CBS Sports. “And what the reasoning is, is on him. He’s the one who can explain why or why not he’s not here.”

In other words, Silas isn’t happy. The rest of the team will do what it is supposed to do, but Harden not showing on time — with no clear reason — is sending a bad message. It’s not something the rookie coach would have wanted to put up with, either.

Harden has reportedly sent a message to the Rockets, but it’s a vague one. The star guard wants to be traded, and his actions seem to be making that clear.

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James Harden’s mother appears to address son’s frustration with Rockets

James Harden

The Houston Rockets continue to insist that everything is fine between them and James Harden and that they expect the former MVP to report to training camp in the very near future. After seeing the way Harden’s mother replied to a fan on social media, it is fair to question at least part of that.

A Rockets fan reached out to Harden’s mother, Monja Willis, on Instagram to criticize Harden for requesting a trade and acting “unprofessional.” Willis decided to respond, and it seemed like she confirmed that her son wants out of Houston.

“He is doing the best for his career,” Willis wrote. “Please pay attention and understand. He has worked hard every time he suited up for his job giving 210%. He ask for a chance to get a ring that’s it. Anyone in (their) right mind in this (business) would want that.”

Willis is very involved in Harden’s career from a business standpoint, so her opinion is different from that of a mother simply defending her son. Her remarks seemingly confirmed that Harden wants out of Houston because he feels he has a better chance of winning a championship elsewhere.

Harden was not present for the Rockets’ first practice of training camp on Sunday. Head coach Stephen Silas said he expected him to take part in an individual workout later in the day, but Harden skipped that too. The 31-year-old has supposedly informed the Rockets he will report soon.

Harden found time last week to attend a rapper’s birthday party in Atlanta, and several photos and videos surfaced on social media over the weekend that appeared to show him at night clubs in Las Vegas.

It remains unclear if and when Harden will show up to work. He still has not commented on the situation, though he did share a cryptic post on Instagram.

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H/T Complex

James Harden tells Rockets he will report soon?

James Harden

The Houston Rockets have a James Harden problem that they hope will be resolved soon.

Harden did not report to the team’s individual workouts at the end of the week. The Rockets were expecting him to report for their first team workouts on Sunday, but Harden did not show. Of course, he did make time for a rapper’s birthday party.

So what’s going on?

ESPN’s Tim MacMahon reported on Sunday night that Harden told the Rockets he will report soon.

That must be great. Houston’s franchise player is not setting a great tone for the team entering the season by reporting late. This comes after the Rockets got rid of their head coach, general manager, and Russell Westbrook.

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James Harden shares cryptic Instagram post amid Rockets drama

James Harden

James Harden has left NBA fans wondering when or if he might show up to training camp with the Houston Rockets, and the former MVP may be enjoying all the drama he has created.

Harden was not present for Houston’s first official practice on Sunday, though head coach Stephen Silas said he expected him to take part in an individual workout later in the evening. As people continued to wonder what his plans might be, Harden shared a cryptic emoji on his Instagram story.

That may not seem like anything, but we doubt the timing is a coincidence.

Harden’s absence from Sunday’s practice may have to do with the NBA’s COVID-19 protocols. Players have to have three consecutive days of negative coronavirus tests before they can enter their team’s facility, and Harden was at a rapper’s birthday party in Atlanta this week.

Of course, there have also been reports that Harden wants the Rockets to trade him. That has led to speculation that he is intentionally staying away from the team until he gets his way. John Wall seems to think his new teammate isn’t going anywhere, but we won’t know anything until Harden either shows up or addresses the situation.

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John Wall shares thoughts on James Harden trade talk

John Wall

John Wall and James Harden are set to be teammates on the Houston Rockets this season, at least for now. Wall, for one, expects it to stay that way.

Despite Harden’s demand for a trade and the rumors that have followed it, Wall says he spoke with his new teammate and came away convinced that Harden will remain in Houston.

“That was the main reason why, talking through the whole process of what was gonna happen with this trade if it happened or did not happen, is one of the reasons that we wanted to play together,” Wall said of Harden, via Mark Berman of FOX 26.

Wall added that he was 100 percent sure that Harden “wants to be here and be a part of this organization.”

Is this just talk, or has the Wall acquisition at least temporarily satisfied Harden? It’s too soon to say. Wall certainly seems to believe it’s the latter, but there are signs that all is still not right between Harden and the organization.

James Harden absent from start of Rockets training camp

James Harden

Houston Rockets fans are waiting to see if and when James Harden will show up to training camp with the team, and the former MVP still seems to be missing.

The Rockets held their first official practice on Sunday, and Harden was not present. Houston coach Stephen Silas told reporters he expects Harden to participate in an individual workout on Sunday evening, according to Marc Stein of the New York Times. Silas said Harden was not able to practice due to coronavirus protocols.

Harden was absent from individual workouts during the week, but reports indicated he was expected to take part in the team’s first practice on Sunday.

The situation took an interesting turn when Harden was spotted at a rapper’s birthday party in another state rather than working out with his teammates. Players have to clear three consecutive days of COVID-19 testing before they can enter their team’s facility, so that could be why Harden was not able to practice on Sunday.

Harden reportedly wants the Rockets to trade him, so naturally there has been speculation that he is holding out. While Silas continues to insist he expects Harden to join the team, the situation is worth monitoring.

Photo: All-Pro Reels/Flickr via cc by-sa 2.0

Report: James Harden will report for training camp on time

James Harden

Despite speculation regarding his whereabouts and his unhappiness with the Houston Rockets, James Harden appears set to arrive in camp on time.

According to Adam Spolane of SportsRadio 610, Harden returned to Houston on Friday and expects to appear at the Rockets’ first day of training camp on Sunday as expected.

The Harden rumor mill had been churning ever since the Rockets traded Russell Westbrook to Washington on Dec. 2. It kicked into overdrive when it was reported that Harden was not present for individual workouts, and was not even in town even though he was technically supposed to be.

Harden is reportedly eager to leave Houston. Every little thing that happens relating to him is going to be cause for speculation. For now, he’s apparently not prepared to rock the boat that much.

Photo: All-Pro Reels/Flickr via cc by-sa 2.0

James Harden was at rapper’s birthday party instead of Rockets workouts

James Harden

James Harden raised some eyebrows this week when it was reported that he was not in Houston with the Rockets for individual workouts. Apparently, he was attending a birthday bash instead.

The Rockets began individual workouts this week and have their first official practice on Sunday. While the workouts are not mandatory, Marc Stein of the New York Times notes that players are supposed to be “in market” and produce three consecutive days of negative COVID-19 tests to enter their team’s practice facility.

According to TMZ, Harden was in Atlanta at some point this week to celebrate rapper Lil Baby’s birthday. Harden gave Lil Baby a Prada bag that was filled with goodies, including a Richard Mille watch and a massive stack of cash.

The timeline is a bit unclear, as it seems Lil Baby has been celebrating his birthday for the better part of a week. All we can say is that Harden was partying with the rapper at some point in recent days and is not yet with his Rockets teammates.

Of course, Harden’s absence has been linked to his reported desire to be traded. New Rockets coach Stephen Silas made it seem like he expects to see Harden in Houston soon, but the situation is one to monitor.

Harden has made eight straight All-Star teams and won three straight scoring titles. The Rockets traded Russell Westbrook earlier in the week in a move that Harden apparently approves of.

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James Harden has not yet reported for Rockets’ individual workouts

James Harden

The rumors surrounding James Harden’s status in Houston may be heating up even more.

Harden has not yet reported for the Rockets’ individual workouts, according to the New York Times’ Marc Stein. However, Stein notes that the team’s first practice is on Sunday, and Rockets coach Stephen Silas is confident Harden will be in attendance.

At this point it would be too early to say this is a sign Harden is forcing his way out of the franchise. However, it’s important to keep in mind all the context surrounding his situation.

Harden reportedly declined a contract extension offer from the Rockets and has reportedly shown interest in a possible trade.

Harden may still be expected to open the season with Houston, but his status is something to monitor.

The 31-year-old guard has made eight straight All-Star teams and won three straight scoring titles.

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Report: James Harden preferred John Wall over Russell Westbrook

James Harden

The Houston Rockets completed a blockbuster trade on Wednesday when they sent Russell Westbrook to the Washington Wizards for John Wall and a first-round pick. The obvious question now is whether James Harden will be the next to go, but the Westbrook trade may have actually improved Houston’s chances of keeping the former NBA MVP.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said on “Get Up!” Thursday morning that Harden would prefer to play with Wall rather than Westbrook.

“He had a preference of John Wall over Russell Westbrook,” Wojnarowski said of Harden. “Although, the last couple of years, Harden has moved teammates in and out. He brought Chris Paul in and moved him out — same with Russell Westbrook now. Whether (trading Westbrook is) going to be enough to convince him to stay or want to be there long term, the Rockets aren’t sure about that.”

One report immediately after Westbrook was traded claimed the Rockets remain committed to Harden and hope to contend with him leading the way this season.

Even if Harden would rather play with Wall than Westbrook, there are plenty of question marks surrounding the former. Wall missed all of last season while he recovered from a torn Achilles. He says he is fully healthy now, but he has not played since December of 2018.

Harden appears to have two teams in mind if the Rockets trade him, but he’s under contract for two more seasons. He has no real leverage, which is likely why Houston is content to hold onto him for now.

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