The NBA made it exactly one day until COVID-19 reared its ugly head and forced the league to readjust. Last night, both opening games went off without a hitch. Today, the Houston Rockets-Oklahoma City Thunder game has been postponed due to a coronavirus outbreak in the Rockets organization. Both teams will have to wait to kick off their 2020-21 seasons.
It feels like March again when the OKC-Utah game got postponed, quickly followed by the postponement of the entire season. That isn't going to happen this time around, but I am not a fan of this evil déjà vu.
One thing to note: while it is undoubtedly tempting to blame a certain Rockets superstar for the postponement, James Harden actually had nothing to do with this. He certainly was not making himself look good when he attended some kind of maskless function earlier this week in the middle of a drawn-out feud with Houston's front office, but Adrian Wojnarowski reported earlier today that the outbreak the Rockets were dealing with stemmed from something else entirely.
It was this group's excursion to get a haircut that led to each of those players getting placed on the close contact tracing list, which makes them ineligible for tonight's game. The Rockets need eight eligible players to go forward, and they don't have that.
In a way, it's sort of Harden's fault, since he would have been active if not for his little adventure that landed him in hot water. But just Harden being available likely wouldn't have made a difference.
Harden has not done a lot right since he demanded a trade, but this isn't on him. Not entirely, anyway.