The Rockets are partnering with the NBA to review a video of James Harden potentially violating the league's COVID-19 protocols ahead of the start of the regular season.
According to ESPN's Tim McMahon, both parties are working to verify the date of the video depicting Harden partying maskless at an event. If it's confirmed to be a recent video, Harden could be subject to disciplinary action by the NBA.
The league's COVID-19 protocols prohibit players from going to bars, lounges or clubs and from participating in social gatherings of more than 15 people. Failure or refusal to abide by those rules could result in a warning, fine and/or suspension, while repeat offenders could be subject to "enhanced discipline."
Harden already violated the league's protocols during a training camp holdout when he went to Lil Baby's birthday party in Atlanta and then traveled to Las Vegas clubs as well. Harden reportedly had COVID-19 before the NBA restart, per McMahon's story, but those individuals are still required to follow the league's protocols.
In the backdrop of Harden's failure to follow the league's health and safety protocols is his trade request during the offseason. Despite two years and a player option left on his current contract with Houston, he rejected a two-year extension and asked to be traded to the Nets, Sixers, Bucks or Heat.
The Rockets have obviously not granted Harden's request and are going ahead this season with him on the roster alongside newly acquired John Wall, Christian Wood and DeMarcus Cousins. If Harden's required to undergo several more COVID-19 tests before returning to play, fans would have to wait to see him and Wall on the court together in a regular season contest.
The Rockets begin their season Wednesday night at 8 p.m. ET against the Thunder.
Tune in at 6 PM to NBC Sports Washington on Wednesday for complete coverage of the Wizards season opener against the Philadelphia 76ers.