Harden is in Houston for COVID tests after missing camp’s start

  • Houston Rockets' James Harden (13) keeps the ball from Los Angeles Lakers' Danny Green during the first half of an NBA conference semifinal playoff basketball game Thursday, Sept. 10, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

HOUSTON — James Harden is back in Houston after missing the start of Rockets training camp and was going through the NBA’s COVID-19 testing protocols on Tuesday.

Coach Stephen Silas said after Houston’s practice that the disgruntled superstar had arrived in the city and was getting tested but didn’t have much information beyond that.

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“That’s pretty much all I know right now,” he said. “It’s kind of some moving parts to it, I assume. But him getting tested in Houston is good for everybody.”

Silas said he hadn’t spoken to Harden and had no comment on reports that the All-Star wants to be traded.

“I don’t have anything to do with that,” Silas said. “But him being here shows a level of commitment to what we have going and what we have going forward. And that’s that.”

Harden’s absence comes after the Rockets traded Russell Westbrook to Washington for John Wall and a first-round draft pick last week. The Rockets have expressed no interest in trading Harden despite months of reports that he wants to leave the team.

The Rockets open the preseason on Friday at Chicago. Silas said he wasn’t sure if Harden would be with the team for that game, but it seems unlikely that he would be able to play if he just began testing on Tuesday.

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The first-year coach, who took over for Mike D’Antoni, was asked how he’ll repair the trust between himself and Harden after the player didn’t report to camp on time.

“Trust is built day to day, once the relationship begins, then we’ll begin that process of trust,” Silas said. “Obviously, it wasn’t a great start to it. But that’s the NBA and the NBA isn’t going to be roses every day. And there’s going to be issues and there’s going to be things that you’re going to have to work through as a group. And that’s what … we’re going to do.”

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