Video Appears to Show James Harden Maskless at Strip Club Following Ball-Throwing Practice Incident (UPDATE)

With the NBA season set to kick off this week, things reportedly got heated in Houston as the James Harden trade saga continues to fascinate.

James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets looks on in the game

Image via Getty/Cato Cataldo/NBAE

James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets looks on in the game

UPDATED 12/23, 9:30 p.m. ET: The NBA has fined James Harden $50,000 for violating COVID-19 protocols after he was deemed "unavailable" for Wednesday's game against the Thunder, Shams Charania reports. The game was also postponed.

James Harden violated the NBA's health and safety protocols when he attended a private indoor party on Monday. League protocols, among other things, prohibit attending indoor social gatherings of 15 or more people or entering bars, lounges, clubs or similar establishments.

— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) December 24, 2020

But that's not all.

According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, Harden will also lose $284,000 per game (or 1/145th of his salary) for each game that he misses. It's currently unclear how long he'll have to quarantine for and how many games he will miss as a result.

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

Rockets and Harden are awaiting word on NBA medical staff to decide on how long of a quarantine will be necessary before he's cleared to return to the team. Besides the 50K fine for violating protocol, Harden will lose $284K in salary for each missed game.

— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) December 24, 2020

After the NBA declared James Harden "unavailable due to violation of health and safety protocols," it is still unclear to both Harden and the Rockets how long he'll be unavailable or whether he'll face league punishment, sources tell @ramonashelburne and me.

— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) December 23, 2020

UPDATED 12/23, 4:40 p.m. ET: James Harden attended a maskless Christmas party with strippers after the incident involving Jae'Sean Tate, Black Sports Online reports

The outlet obtained video that was allegedly taken at the party, showing Harden being gifted a Dior suitcase by the party's organizers, Selective Group. Watch the video below. 

View this video on YouTube

Per ESPN's Tim MacMahon, the Rockets are working with the NBA to determine if te video above is recent. If so, it could jeopardize Harden's status for opening night, and potentially beyond.

Source: Rockets are working with NBA office to review video of James Harden at a strip club. If the video circulating on social media is verified to be recent, it is a violation of league's COVID protocols, which would put Harden's availability for tonight's opener in jeopardy.

— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) December 23, 2020

From the NBA health and safety protocols: Failure or refusal to comply with the protocols may subject players and team staff to disciplinary action by the NBA or his or her team which may include a warning, fine, and/or suspension.

— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) December 23, 2020

Later on Wednesday, Harden responded to the report via Instagram.

Harden responds

— Rob Perez (@WorldWideWob) December 23, 2020

While Harden did say that the space was not actually a strip club, he also admitted to going out, which as MacMahon points out, is a violation of league protocol.

James Harden clarified that the event in question was not at a strip club. By doing so, he admits violating the NBA’s COVID-19 protocols, which prohibit players from going to bars, lounges or clubs or social events with more than 15 people.

— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) December 23, 2020

ESPN's Ramona Shelburne tweeted details about Harden's meeting with the league, which you can read below. 

Harden has told the league he took a photo with his friend, when he gave her a gift.  Harden also claimed he left after approximately 30 minutes, and did not continue on with the group, which went to other locations later in the night.

— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) December 23, 2020

Harden has said he entered through a separate entrance and sat in a separate area of the venue with his security detail.

— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) December 23, 2020

Harden has told the league he took a photo with his friend, when he gave her a gift.  Harden also claimed he left after approximately 30 minutes, and did not continue on with the group, which went to other locations later in the night.

— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) December 23, 2020

Shelburne reports that Harden has tested negative for COVID-19 three times. 

James Harden tested negative for Covid-19 on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, league source tells ESPN. The league is still reviewing his situation and eligibility for tonight’s game.

— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) December 23, 2020

See original story below. 

As the NBA season gets set to kick off this week, the Houston Rockets might have a problem on their hands.

We all know that James Harden wants to be moved, and now it seems that the whole situation is really starting to boil over. According to a report from Shams Charania, Harden got into "multiple verbal confrontations with teammates in practice on Sunday and Monday." These spats reportedly included Harden hurling a basketball at rookie Jae'Sean Tate following a "heated exchange" between the two.

Harden and rookie Jae’Sean Tate had a "heated exchange" during Monday's Rockets practice, which resulted in Harden throwing the ball in Tate’s direction, per @ShamsCharania

— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) December 22, 2020

Rockets players' early signs of tension in recent days included James Harden throwing a basketball at a rookie, setting the stage for Houston to tip off the season on Wednesday.

Story from @ShamsCharania for @TheAthleticNBA ⤵️

— The Athletic (@TheAthletic) December 22, 2020

Sources familiar with the Rockets and Harden tell Charania that the superstar is usually relaxed when it comes to practice, and this "uncharacteristic level of frustration" could be linked to his desire to be traded from the team. At this point, Houston will likely begin the 2020-21 season with Harden as its focal point, but with his desire to be traded to a team like the Brooklyn Nets, a move could come sooner rather than later.

Some league insiders reported that all the speculation hasn't had much of an effect on the team, despite Harden arriving late to training camp after what looked like some wild nights out

"Since I've been here, nothing has been said about it," Tim MacMahon of ESPN reported last week. "Everybody in the locker room and the coaching staff has been focused on ramping up and preparing for the season. That's all that matters."

Harden hasn't spoken publicly about his trade requests, as Charania reports that he intends on being "professional" throughout the process despite the confrontational practices. 

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