Tensions surrounding Houston Rockets superstar James Harden’s desire to be traded to a contender have boiled over at practice, The Athletic reported Tuesday.
The three-time defending league scoring champion has had multiple verbal confrontations with teammates and threw a basketball at one of them, per the report.
The Rockets open the 2020-21 season Wednesday night at home against Harden’s former team, the Oklahoma City Thunder.
“Next question,” Harden told reporters Monday when asked whether the drama with his situation would carry over into the season.
According to The Athletic, Harden had a heated exchange with Jae’Sean Tate at practice Monday that ended with Harden throwing a basketball in the rookie’s direction.
The eight-time All-Star, who reported a week late to training camp, is known for his calm, laid-back personality, so “some around the franchise are viewing this (incident) as rising to an uncharacteristic level of frustration given his ongoing situation,” read the report.
In 11 NBA seasons, Harden has averaged 25.2 points, 5.3 rebounds and 6.3 assists in 833 career games. He spent his first three seasons with the Thunder, after becoming the No. 3 overall selection in the 2009 draft.
Capturing his third straight scoring title, Harden averaged 34.3 points with 6.6 rebounds and 7.5 assists over 68 games last season.