Publish date:

Rockets-Thunder Game Postponed Due to Houston's Positive COVID-19 Tests and Contact Tracing

The Houston Rockets-Oklahoma City Thunder game that was originally scheduled for Wednesday evening has been postponed following Houston's potential COVID-19 outbreak.

League rules mandated that eight Rockets players needed to be available in order for the game to be a go. As COVID-19 test results were returned and contact tracing began, the team did not meet the minimum requirement, the league announced.

The Athletic's Shams Charania reported that three players so far have tested positive or had inconclusive COVID-19 tests. Through contact tracing, four additional players are now quarantined.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported earlier on Wednesday that the Rockets sent home John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins and rookie Jae'Sean Tate after fellow rookie Kenyon Martin Jr. returned a positive COVID-19 test.

A group of players, which included Martin, Wall and Cousins, got haircuts together at a player's apartment on Tuesday evening away from the team's facility, Wojnarowski reported. This initiated contact tracing protocols.

SI Recommends

The NBA also declared James Harden "unavailable due to violation of healthy and safety protocols." Wojnarowski reported that it's unclear to Harden and the team how long he'll be unavailable or if he will face league punishments.

His status remains in the air as the team works with the NBA office to review a video of him at a recent Christmas party held at a club. The video circulated on social media via Black Sports Online earlier this week, but the date is unconfirmed. 

According to ESPN's Ramona Shelburne, Harden tested negative for COVID-19 on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

Failure to comply with protocols could result in individual disciplinary action by the NBA or team and could result in a warning, fine and/or suspension, as noted in the league's health and safety protocols.

"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," Harden wrote online in response to the video. "No matter how many times people try to drag my name under you can't. The real always end on top."