NBA commissioner Adam Silver explained during an ESPN appearance that Rockets star James Harden didn’t face a suspension for violating COVID-19 protocols because the NBA didn’t want to set that harsh a precedent to start the season, as Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle tweets. Harden was fined $50K after an NBA investigation found that Harden violated protocols when he attended an indoor party of 15 or more people.
“The precedent is that discipline gets ratcheted up,” Silver said. “It’s Christmas. It was a first offense.”
Silver said, adding “in a way he got lucky.” If the Rockets’ first game had not been postponed, Harden would have been docked one game’s pay, Feigen adds. Harden is expected to make his season debut on Saturday.
We have more from the Southwest Division:
- Mavericks big man Willie Cauley-Stein could see an uptick in minutes as Dwight Powell is eased back into the rotation from an Achilles injury, according to Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News. Cauley-Stein played well in a six-minute stint during the team’s opener. Cauley-Stein signed a two-year, $8.2MM contract with a team option at the beginning of the month.
- Off-season acquisitions Josh Richardson and James Johnson were identified as two players that would fit well with Mavericks star Luka Doncic, Caplan writes in a separate story. Richardson filled a need for a 3-and-D wing player who could also handle the ball while Johnson provides a measure of toughness.
- Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express News details how 71-year-old coach Gregg Popovich is connecting with his youthful Spurs roster.