HOUSTON – James Harden practiced with the Houston Rockets on Monday for the first time this season after missing the early part of camp while talk swirls that he wants out.
Harden reported to camp late amid reports he is looking to be traded. He was absent for Houston’s first two preseason games as he went through the NBA’s COVID-19 testing protocols.
Coach Stephen Silas said he spoke with the superstar Monday, but they talked strictly basketball and neither addressed a possible trade.
“We had a good conversation and I’m just going to leave it at that,” Silas said. “You can ask him about his commitment and all that sort of thing. But we had a good conversation. He was locked in. He was asking good questions. He’s bringing up good points.”
So far asking Harden anything hasn’t been an option — the Beard hasn’t spoken to reporters since reporting to camp.
Silas said that Harden will make his preseason debut Tuesday night when the Rockets host the Spurs.
The Rockets traded Russell Westbrook to Washington for John Wall and a first-round pick on Dec. 2 to cap a short offseason that was plagued by rumors that both Westbrook and Harden wanted to leave Houston. Some thought the Westbrook trade would change Harden’s mind about the Rockets, but the reports that he wants to leave have persisted in the almost two weeks since the deal.
Silas, in his first year in Houston after taking over for Mike D’Antoni, has said he expects Harden to be “all in” this season. The coach also denied that speculation about the eight-time All-Star's future has been a distraction to the team.