The Houston Rockets‘ 2019-20 season ended during the 2020 Western Conference Semifinals against the Los Angeles Lakers. James Harden and Co. lost to the Lakers in five games at Walt Disney World in the NBA bubble.
Since the Rockets lost to the Lakers, there’s been a lot of changes in Houston. Daryl Morey and Mike D’Antoni left the organization, and Russell Westbrook was traded to the Washington Wizards for John Wall. Harden has requested a trade from Houston as Westbrook did, but the Rockets will take their time in moving the 2018 MVP.
Since requesting his trade, Harden has been violating the NBA’s COVID-19 protocols left and right. The All-Star guard is clearly doing everything he can to force the Rockets to trade him.
However, James Harden is not only destroying his reputation around the NBA, but he’s also risking his long-term health after what happened during the summer before the bubble games at Disney World started.
James Harden needed seven games to defeat the Thunder
James Harden and the Rockets faced Chris Paul and the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round of the 2020 playoffs. The Beard averaged 29.7 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 8.0 assists in the series while shooting 46.5% from the field, 31.3% from beyond the arc, and 85.0% from the free-throw line.
Despite Harden’s stellar play, though, the Rockets needed seven games to defeat the Thunder in the first round. Houston won Games 1, 2, 5, and 7 and barely advanced to the second round. The Rockets only won Game 7 by two points.
James Harden and Chris Paul didn’t greet each other after the series ended, which isn’t a surprise since they supposedly had beef during CP3’s two years on the Rockets. After one day of rest, Houston geared up to face LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and the Lakers in the second round.
James Harden and the Rockets lost to the Lakers in five games
James Harden and the Rockets shocked the NBA world by blowing out the Lakers in Game 1 of the second round. The former MVP poured in 36 points in Game 1, and some around the league believed Houston had a good shot at defeating LeBron James’ group.
However, LeBron and the Lakers won four straight games after losing Game 1, sending the Rockets home in five quick games. Harden put up 29.4 points per game against LA, but it wasn’t enough to propel Houston to victory.
For the second straight season, Harden and the Rockets lost in the Western Conference Semifinals. Big changes were in store for Houston, but no one predicted both Harden and Russell Westbrook asking for trades and Daryl Morey stepping down from his post.
Before the seeding games started at Disney World, James Harden was late to report to the bubble. At the time, the Rockets didn’t state why their All-NBA guard was showing up late, but we now know why that was the case.
Rockets star had COVID-19 during the summer
According to Tim MacMahon of ESPN, James Harden had COVID-19 during the summer before the bubble games started, which is why he reported late to Disney World. While Harden played well in the bubble, unlike Russell Westbrook–who also contracted COVID-19–the future Hall of Famer hasn’t been acting smart since the 2020 playoffs ended.
Players who have recovered from COVID-19 are still required to follow the league’s health and safety protocols. Harden hasn’t been doing that, and he’s jeopardizing his own health and the people close to him. Someone in Harden’s camp needs to tell the eight-time All-Star to take this virus more seriously. After all, Minnesota Timberwolves big man Karl-Anthony Towns lost his mother to COVID-19.
It’s still unknown when James Harden is going to get traded. What is certain is that the California native hasn’t been behaving appropriately.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference.