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Rockets’ James Harden: ‘I want it to be safe’ before resuming NBA season

UPDATED: Thu., May 21, 2020

Houston Rockets guard James Harden  dunks against the Washington Wizards during the first half  Oct. 30, 2019, in Washington. (Nick Wass / AP)
Houston Rockets guard James Harden dunks against the Washington Wizards during the first half Oct. 30, 2019, in Washington. (Nick Wass / AP)
By Kristian Winfield Tribune News Service

James Harden isn’t quite ready to resume the season yet.

The 2019 NBA Most Valuable Player and Houston Rockets superstar wants to make sure the coast is clear and that the coronavirus pandemic in the United States has “calmed down all the way to a minimum” before he returns to action Euro stepping around defenders in a resumed NBA season.

“I want it to be safe,” Harden told CNBC’s Jabari Young. “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.”

The NBA was midway through one of its most entertaining seasons in a while before Jazz star Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus on March 11. The NBA subsequently suspended its season indefinitely, then a rash of league players and personnel tested positive for the coronavirus in the ensuing weeks, including several Nets players, Knicks owner James Dolan and Gobert’s teammate, Donovan Mitchell.

The Players Association informally polled its members on whether they wanted to resume this NBA season despite a hiatus from basketball that has lasted more than 60 days. The overwhelming majority voted yes.

A good chunk of the NBA’s star-power contingent – including LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Kevin Durant, Harden’s teammate, Russell Westbrook, and others – also hopped on a conference call to establish “a united front” on resuming the season amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Like Harden said: The players want this season to resume.

Harden’s Rockets entered the NBA’s coronavirus hiatus tied with the Oklahoma City Thunder for sixth place in the Western Conference.

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