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Adam Silver Explains Why He Did Not Suspend James Harden

(Credit: Getty Images)

(Credit: Getty Images)

James Harden has made headlines with his behavior in recent days leading to him being fined $50k by the NBA for violating COVID-19 protocols. The Houston Rockets superstar was fined for breaking the league’s new rule surrounding players attending indoor gatherings of more than 15 people, Harden attended such an event maskless on December 21st.

The breach of COVID safety protocols came along with reports of Harden’s fellow teammates violating the NBA’s rules as well, leading to Houston’s season opener against the Oklahoma City Thunder to be postponed. The Rockets will instead kick off their 2020-21 season against the Portland Trailblazers.

While it is within the NBA commissioner Adam Silver’s power to suspend the former MVP Harden, he said that he elected not to. The situation involving three other Rockets players violating protocols makes it hard to pin all the blame on Harden. Silver gave a much more sentimental explanation for not suspending The Beard to ESPN.

“The precedent is that discipline gets ratcheted up. It’s Christmas, it was a first offense.”

Silver alluded to the other players violating protocols, calling Harden “lucky” given the circumstances. If it were only The Beard who broke the league’s rules surrounding coronavirus, he would have been suspended one game, costing the superstar $572,985 from his contract, much more than $50,000.

Despite the gift, Harden may be able to play against Portland the day after Christmas, following a four-day-long quarantine after his incident Monday the 21st. The three-time scoring champ asked to be traded by the Rockets earlier in the year during the offseason, a trade has yet to be reached between Houston and other teams in the league wanting Harden. The lack of trade has led to immense tension between the 6’5” shooting guard and Rockets management.