The NBA season has stalled at the first hurdle with Houston’s season opener against the Oklahoma City Thunder postponed because of COVID-19.
Coronavirus cases and James Harden’s violation of the NBA’s COVID-19 protocols left the Rockets without the league-mandated eight players available.
Harden has been hit with a $50,000 ($A66,000) fine, with the league’s leading scorer facing the possibility of quarantine and the loss of about $280,000 ($A370,000) for each game missed.
The NBA announced the postponement in a statement that said three Rockets players had returned tests that were either positive or inconclusive and that four other players were quarantined because of contract tracing.
The statement also said that Harden was unavailable for the game because of a violation of health and safety protocols after video of the disgruntled star surfaced on social media in which he was without a mask at a crowded party in a private event space on Tuesday night (local time).
Rumours have swirled for months that Harden wants to be traded, but the superstar has refused to address the situation.
Another Houston player was unavailable for the game because of an injury, leaving the Rockets without enough personnel to play on Wednesday night.
Houston’s injury report released on Wednesday morning stated that Ben McLemore and rookie KJ Martin were not with the team and were self-isolating and that DeMarcus Cousins was questionable because of a sprained right ankle.