James Harden wants to see pandemic ‘calmed down’ before NBA’s return
James Harden is eager to get back on the court with the Houston Rockets but the superstar would prefer it if the NBA would not return to play until the coronavirus pandemic has been better contained.
Appearing Wednesday on CNBC, Harden laid out how he envisions the league’s return after ongoing indefinite hiatus on March 11 due to the burgeoning COVID-19 outbreak.
The Rockets star indicated that he would be fine playing games without fans in attendance, which is a certainty to occur should the season resume. What’s more, he would rather see the coronavirus pandemic “calmed down all the way to a minimum” before the league restarts operations.
“I want it to be safe,” Harden said when asked about returning, per CNBC. “I want it to be entertaining for the fans and players to get out there and compete. As soon as we can get this ramped up, I’m ready to go. I feel like the majority of the players feel the same way.”
Things obviously remain unsettled amid the NBA’s continuing best efforts to resume the season. A recent report indicated NBA teams expect the league to present guidelines before June 1 about protocols that would allow players to reassemble for a makeshift training camp. The preliminary plan for a season restart is believed to be slated for sometime in July.
Further, the league is currently considering a two-site “bubble city” format for a season restart, with Walt Disney World in Orlando and Las Vegas as the likely locations. Multiple players, as well as the NBPA, have expressed significant skepticism about such a scenario.
Harden noted during the interview Wednesday that there have been “multiple conversations” between the NBA and the Players Association. The 2018 NBA MVP did, however, indicate that “there are so many things that have to be figured out. But the sooner, the better.”
Harden is hardly the only NBA superstar to express an eagerness for a return to action. It’s important to note, though, that like many others, the Rockets superstar does have some concerns about how to best go about doing so.