Adam Silver defends James Harden after $50,000 punishment: “It’s Christmas”

NBA commissioner Adam Silver, from left, presents the most valuable player award to James Harden, of the Houston Rockets, as Harden's mother Monja Willis looks on at the NBA Awards on Monday, June 25, 2018, at the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, Calif. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver appeared on ESPN Thursday and said a $50,000 fine was a sufficient punishment for James Harden, after the Rockets’ superstar broke NBA’s COVID-19 safety protocols.

“The precedent is that discipline gets ratcheted up. It’s Christmas. It was a first offense,” Silver said “in a way he got lucky”. If the game between Houston and OKC had been played, that would have cost him his salary, which is around $500,000 per game.

The Rockets’ season opener at home against the Oklahoma City Thunder was postponed on Wednesday after three of Houston’s players returned tests that were either positive or inconclusive for COVID-19.

Harden started the season by asking a trade to a contending team joining the Rockets’ training camp later than his teammates.

At the top of that, a few days back, he attended a party not wearing a mask. That resulted in breaking league health and safety protocols and a $50,000 fine.