The Houston Rockets are working with the NBA office to review a video of James Harden at a club, according to ESPN's Tim MacMahon.
The date of the video, which circulated on social media via Black Sports Online's Robert Littal earlier this week, is unconfirmed, but it is purportedly from a Houston club's Christmas party held this week.
Wednesday's Rockets-Thunder game was postponed in accordance with the NBA's health and safety protocols. Harden would have been unavailable due to a violation of league protocol, which led the league to fine him $50,000 on Wednesday, according to The Athletic's Shams Charania.
NBA COVID-19 policy prohibits its players from attending indoor social gatherings of 15 or more people or entering bars, lounges, clubs or similar establishments.
According to New York Times' Marc Stein, the timeline for Harden's return is still TBD and is dependent on how many negative tests he will be required to register.
Before being fined on Wednesday, Harden responded to the reports on social media.
"One thing after another. I went to show love to my homegirl at her event (not a strip club) because she is becoming a boss and putting her people in position of success and now it's a problem [sic]," he wrote online. "No matter how many times people try to drag my name under you can't."
According to ESPN's Ramona Shelburne, Harden told NBA investigators he believed he was in compliance with NBA health and safety protocols.
Harden, 31, has reportedly requested a trade from the Rockets with the 76ers, Nets and Bucks being among the potential clubs that Harden would like to be traded to. ESPN's Brian Windhorst reported earlier this week that the Heat, one of the teams initially believed to be interested in Harden, will not pursue a possible move. According to the Denver Post's Mike Singer, the Nuggets were one of the teams that the Rockets called to gauge interest in a possible deal, but those talks didn't gain any traction.
Earlier this December, Harden did not participate in the Rockets' start to training camp after attending rapper Lil Baby's birthday party in Atlanta without wearing a face covering. The NBA had required players to quarantine at home in the lead-up to training camps, other than appearing at COVID-19 testing at team facilities, individual workouts and essential activities such as grocery shopping.
Harden has two years remaining on his contract, plus a player option for the 2022–23 season. The former MVP won the NBA scoring title for the third straight year last season, averaging 34.3 points, 7.5 assists and 6.6 rebounds per game.