AceShowbiz - James Harden is still missing from Houston Rockets camp. While all team players and staff have to quarantine amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the 31-year-old athlete's whereabouts remain unknown by his team.
Rockets coach Stephen Silas addressed James' absence on Monday, December 7. While he said that there is "no timetable" he is aware of for the perennial All-Star guard to report, he admitted that "it is a setback." He explained, "You want your best player to be here."
Stephen said he had no idea whether James had returned to Houston. James will likely be subject to fine for violating the league's COVID-19 protocols, but the coach said that has not been a subject of discussion at this point.
"I've been in situations before where it was a holdout, and we just kind of handled each individual situation on its own merit and individually," he stated. "As far as any sort of punishment, we haven't even crossed that bridge yet. We're just trying to work piece by piece."
James missed out Houston's first team workout on Sunday, December 6 and was a no-show at Monday's practice. Over the weekend, the shooting guard posted on Instagram pictures of him attending Lil Baby's birthday party in Atlanta. He was also spotted hanging out in Las Vegas nightclubs in the past couple of days.
His no-show at Rockets camp is on the heels of reports that James has requested to be traded to the Brooklyn Nets. The Rockets, however, have been adamant that they will not be rushed into trading the star.
Stephen refused to speculate on the message that James is trying to convey with his absence. "I have no clarity about the message, honestly," he said. "I take it basically at face value that he's not here. What the reasoning is, is on him. He's the one who can explain why or why not he's not here. For me to make inferences and think about the possibilities isn't real to me. What's real is he's not here, and he has a reason, but that's on him to tell whoever what his reason is."
Meanwhile, James' mother Monja Willis, who also serves as his agent, has defended her son's actions. "He is doing what is best for his career. Please pay attention and understand," she wrote on Instagram in response to a fan criticizing her son's behavior. "He has worked hard every time he suited up for his job, giving 210 percent. He ask[ed] for a chance to get a ring, that's it. Anyone in their right mind in this bus[iness] would want that."