Harden practices with the Rockets; coach says he will play on Tuesday

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HOUSTON – James Harden trained for the Houston Rockets on Monday for the first time this season after missing the opening game of camp as talks revolve around him.
Harden reported having camped late amid reports he was looking to be traded. He was out for Houston’s first two preseason games as he went through NBA COVID-19 testing protocols.

Coach Stephen Silas said he spoke with the superstar on Monday, but they spoke strictly of basketball and neither addressed a possible trade.

“We had a great conversation and I’ll just leave it at that,” Silas said. “You can ask him about his engagement and all that sort of thing. But we had a good conversation. He was locked up. He was asking good questions. He brings up some good points.

So far, asking Harden for anything has not been an option – Beard hasn’t spoken to reporters since arriving at the camp.

Silas has said Harden will make his preseason debut Tuesday night when the Rockets host Spurs.

The Rockets traded Russell Westbrook in Washington for John Wall and a first-round pick on Dec. 2 to cap off a short offseason that was plagued by rumors that Westbrook and Harden wanted to leave Houston. Some thought Westbrook’s trade would change Harden’s mind about the Rockets, but reports that he wants to quit have persisted for the nearly two weeks since the deal.

Silas, in his first year at Houston after taking over from Mike D’Antoni, said he expects Harden to be “all in” this season. The coach also denied that speculation about the future of the eight-time All-Star has been a distraction for the team.

“This is something the media talked about a lot and I had to answer a lot of questions about it,” Silas said. “But in terms of our growth and progress this season, we’ve been on the right pace.”

Veteran PJ Tucker also trained on Monday after missing the first two preseason games. He works slowly after getting to the camp a day late.

Tucker is in the final year of a four-year, $ 31.8 million contract and some have suggested he was also unhappy in Houston because he hadn’t been given an extension. He spoke to reporters on Monday but didn’t provide much clarity on the situation.

“It’s not even just in the extension of the contract,” he says. “This is not the total objective. The goal is to be in a place where you want, where you want to be… that’s what every player wants. No one wants to be somewhere they don’t want it. And there are certain ways to show it and it’s not just contract extensions. ”

Tucker was asked if he felt the Rockets didn’t want him anymore.

“You should ask them. Because you ask me a question about what they think, and I can’t tell you, ”he said.

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