James Harden in ‘catch-up mode’ with the Houston Rockets after a brief grab


Houston Rockets star James Harden did not directly answer questions about his willingness to trade during his first media availability since his brief hold at the start of training camp.

“Right now, I’m focused on being here,” Hardik said Wednesday, a day after playing 21 minutes in a preseason win over the San Antonio Spurs. “Today was a good day. Yesterday I felt really good for the first time after the bubble. I haven’t really had the opportunity to work 5-on-5, but because of my first time out, it felt great . “

Harden, a perennial all-star who has been quoted by sources as having requested to be included in a selected list of contenders, including the Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers, is due to arrive late in training camp until practice Monday. Was not approved to do.

Harden traveled to Atlanta for a rapper Lil Baby’s birthday party and then to Las Vegas, where he socialized in clubs, during a period when NBA players undergo daily coronavirus tests and team facilities and self- Participating in individual workouts was required in quarantine. Activities.

“I was training right now,” Harden said when asked to the point that he was attempting to cross those trips instead of reporting to the training camp on time.

Asked what he was training for, Harden said, “the start of the NBA season.” He said that he worked with “my personal trainers” on the trip.

Harden did not report to Houston until December 8, two days after the Rockets’ team began practice. He missed the Rockets’ first two conference games, and admitted that he is “in catch-up mode” with game conditioning and learning the system of first-year Houston coach Stephen Silas.

“I can only focus on now, and for me, the best is James Harden making sure I’m in shape.” “Like I said, I didn’t even get a chance to play 5-on-5. Individual workouts, when you do individual basketball training, is great, but as every NBA player can agree, 5-on-5. There is nothing like it. Training, physicality, reading and making things like that. With me being out for the first time yesterday, I felt good, and it’s exciting. “

Harden’s business request has an elephant in the locker room whom the Rockets are reducing to discuss in the media and with the franchise’s long face.

“Since I’ve been here, nothing has been said about it,” Harden said. “Everyone’s attention in the locker room and coaching staff is focused on ramping up and preparing for the season. It all matters.”

A deliberate approach has been taken by the Rockets trainers and teammates, who have vowed to focus collectively on basketball amid potential deflections of Harden’s saga.

A former All-Star, who was recently traded to the Washington Wizards for Russell Westbrook with a safe future first-round pick, said, “I try not to ask him about this because his personal business is.” “I am concerned about what we can do to make this rocket team the best we can be while everyone is here and can move beyond that.”

DeMarcus Cousins, a former All-Star center who, like Wall, is attempting to return with the Rockets after suffering several serious injuries, expressed similar sentiments.

“At the end of the day, it’s a business,” Cousins ​​said. “You can only respect a person whatever he feels is best for him, his personal life and his career. So, no, honest, I haven’t. [tried to convince Harden to commit to the Rockets], And I really don’t feel like this is my place. It is a decision he has to make for himself.

“My job is to hold everyone accountable when we are on the floor and when we are in practice. We are going to come every day and try to do better every day. I control what I do Do? ” Can control For those on the floor, we are about to go to war. “

Harden was praising Silas, a longtime NBA assistant who was most recently the Dallas Mavericks offensive coordinator, but he had almost no communication until this week. Their conversation focuses on basketball strategy.

“If we really knew where his head was, I think it would be good for everyone,” Silas said. “But we’re dealing with reality, things that change on a day-to-day basis, on a game-to-game basis. As I said earlier, my job is to coach this basketball team And that’s to make sure. People are put in the right position. Part of that is the group spirit, and I think the group spirit, especially based on last night’s game, is pretty good. “

Silas has stated several times that he will focus on coaching and let the front office deal with personnel decisions, such as potentially trading.

Asked if he had confidence in recently promoted general manager Rafael Stone, Harden gave a non-reply: “We did not negotiate.”

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