The GIST: The NBA regular season started on Tuesday, just in time for Santa to make some last minute changes to his naughty or nice list.
Naughty: James Harden is getting coal in his stocking. The Houston Rockets star violated COVID-19 protocols earlier this week by visiting what seems to be a strip club (though he claims otherwise) and was deemed “unavailable” for the Rockets’ home opener last night while the NBA investigated.
- That game — after seven Rockets players were placed on the COVID-19 list — was postponed anyway, as the team didn’t have enough players to make up the league-required eight-man roster, and Harden was fined $50k for his rule breaking. But since there’s room for everyone on the nice list, there might be hope for him yet.
- Seems like the Toronto Raptors are trying to make the naughty list, too. Not only did they lose last night’s “home” opener to the New Orleans Pelicans, but rumor has it they’re in “exploratory talks” to trade for Harden. Interesting.
Nice: The Brooklyn Nets weren’t too good this year, but they’re making a convincing last-minute push for the nice list. With Kevin Durant back on the court for the first time since June 2019, the Nets won the league’s season opener 125–99 over the Golden State Warriors. The Nets play again tomorrow at 5 p.m. ET against the Boston Celtics.
Extra nice: Santa knows it’s been a rough year, so he’s gifting us five CanCon-friendly Christmas Day games. Along with the Steve Nash–run Nets and Tristan Thompson’s Celtics matchup, Andrew Wiggins’ Warriors and Jamal Murray’s Denver Nuggets are also set to play. Check out the full schedule here.