MIAMI, July 15 — NBA scoring leader James Harden arrived in Orlando to join the Houston Rockets ahead of the season restart but the Sacramento Kings will have to wait for coronavirus-positive Harrison Barnes.
Team workouts continued Wednesday on the Disney World campus where 22 NBA clubs will reside and play without spectators when the league resumes play July 30 after shuting down March 11 when Utah’s Rudy Gobert tested positive for Covid-19.
Harden, who was averaging an NBA-best 34.4 points a game when the season went on hiatus, is on pace for a third consecutive NBA scoring title.
He arrived on the NBA campus in Florida yesterday night, five days after the Rockets moved into the hotel. No reason was given for Harden’s delayed arrival but he must quarantine in his hotel room before being able to join the Rockets for practice sessions.
Houston is also missing Russell Westbrook after he announced Monday he had tested positive for Covid-19. It’s not known when he will be able to arrive.
The Rockets, sixth in the Western Conference at 40-24, resume their NBA season against Dallas on July 31.
Also present yesterday in the NBA bubble was Denver’s Nikola Jokic.
He had tested positive for Covid-19 in June while in Serbia and was in quarantine while testing negative several times before being allowed to join the Nuggets, who return to action August 1 against Miami.
But one player who won’t be in Orlando for a while is Sacramento’s Barnes, who tweeted yesterday night he has tested positive for Covid-19.
“Prior to the team leaving last week, I tested positive for Covid-19,” Barnes tweeted. “I’ve been primarily asymptomatic and am doing well. I’m quarantined and am abiding by the safety protocol until I’m cleared for action.
“I hope to rejoin my team in Orlando when it is safe to do so! Stay safe out there.”
Barnes will be tested daily and once he tests negative twice, he can join the Kings in Disney World, although upon arrival he would be subject to more tests and two days of self quarantine in his room away from the rest of the club.
The eight-year NBA forward, who was traded from Dallas to the Kings in February 2019, is averaging 14.7 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.4 assists a game for Sacramento, which is 28-36 and chasing Memphis for the last Western Conference playoff spot.
The Kings resume play on July 31 against San Antonio. — AFP