The NBA fined Houston Rockets star James Harden $50,000 Wednesday for attending a private indoor party earlier in the week, but NBA commissioner Adam Silver said Thursday that Harden is lucky the punishment wasn't steeper.
"In a way he got lucky," Silver said on ESPN. "The precedent is that discipline gets ratcheted up. It’s Christmas. It was a first offense."
The Rockets' season opener against the Thunder was postponed Wednesday night because the team didn't have enough active players due to COVID-19 contact tracing protocol. If the game was played, Harden would have been docked a single game's pay. According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, that's $284,000 in salary for each game Harden misses.
The Rockets are now scheduled to open the season against the Portland Trailblazers on Saturday. Harden reportedly will be available to play as long as he tests negative for four days leading up to the game.
Tune in at 6 PM to NBC Sports Washington on Saturday for complete coverage of the Wizards home opener against the Orlando Magic.