NBA

Harden absent again as Silas gives 'no timetable' on Rockets return amid trade rumours

After James Harden was a no-show again on Monday, Stephen Silas fielded questions about the Houston Rockets star.

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Harden absent again as Silas gives 'no timetable' on Rockets return amid trade rumours

Houston Rockets head coach Stephen Silas said there is no timetable for James Harden's return as the star continues to stay away from the NBA franchise amid trade rumours.

Harden reportedly wants to be traded to the Brooklyn Nets, where he would reunite with former Oklahoma City Thunder team-mate Kevin Durant and team up with Kyrie Irving.

Talk of Harden's future has been further amplified after Russell Westbrook was dealt to the Washington Wizards in exchange for John Wall on Wednesday.

Harden was absent from Houston's first practice of training camp on Sunday due to coronavirus protocols, but the former MVP did not report for the individual workout later in the evening.

The eight-time All-Star was a no-show again on Monday as first-year coach Silas fronted the media.

Harden absence "a setback" for Rockets

"There is no timetable, as far as I know," Silas said after practice. "It is a setback. You want your best player to be here."

In 2019-20, points scored by Harden and points scored off his assists averaged 52.4 per game. It followed 53.9 in 2018-19, 51.3 in 2017-18 and 56 the season previous.

That marked four successive seasons with 50-plus points per game created, tying Oscar Robertson (1963-64 to 1966-67) for the longest streak in NBA history.

Harden averaged 34.3 points, 7.5 assists and 6.6 rebounds per game for the Rockets, who lost in the Western Conference semi-finals at Walt Disney World Resort.

"I have no clarity about the message, honestly," Silas said. "I take it basically at face value that he's not here. What the reasoning is, is on him. He's the one who can explain why or why not he's not here.

"For me to make inferences and think about the possibilities isn't real to me. What's real is he's not here, and he has a reason, but that's on him to tell whoever what his reason is."

Silas, who replaced Mike D'Antoni at the end of the 2019-20 season, added: "I've been in situations before where it was a holdout, and we just kind of handled each individual situation on its own merit and individually.

"As far as any sort of punishment, we haven't even crossed that bridge yet. We're just trying to work piece by piece."