James Harden’s diet Eyes Wide Shut evening netted him a $50K fine, which he’ll barely notice. What’s really important here is it’s a continuing pattern of Harden trying to alienate anyone associated with the Rockets so that they’ll trade him for office-candy-on-the-dollar instead of the fifty cents on the dollar they’d get now.
But here’s the thing for Harden. If you’re going to go full Costanza-trying-to-get-fired, then go full Costanza-trying-to-get-fired. So far Harden has just showed up in nightclubs without a mask or missed practices. And that’s a good first step, but now he has to bring it home. So he needs to tear down the No. 34 from the Toyota Center rafters, hook it up to the bumper of his car, and drag it around the parking lot while telling everyone they all stink and he fears no reprisal. It’s the only way forward here.
As far as the NBA’s “fine,” either you’re serious about these protocols or you’re not. That kind of fine makes it clear the NBA isn’t, or at least isn’t when it comes to the game’s biggest stars. Adam Silver isn’t supposed to be Rob Manfred.
The NHL released their schedule yesterday, and in a bid to cut down on travel and perhaps enhance everyone’s safety, teams will be playing this year in NCAA hockey-like series instead of its traditional one-stop shopping. Meaning that teams will play two or three games in the same city against the same opponent at a time, knocking out the need to return to a city three or four times this season. The idea being that teams will have to get on planes and deal with airports less and fewer hotels if they’re camping in a city for a few days instead of showing up one night, playing the next, and leaving after the game.
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This has been something that some within the league have talked about doing in normal times, to cut down on travel and make the schedule less grueling. It would be harder to do with the normal 82-game schedule, as there are cities that teams only visit once in a season and there’s also the matter of the number of teams that have to weave a schedule around their NBA roommates. Still, it would make for a more unique schedule and hockey needs anything it can find to make itself stand out. This is the type of schedule seen in college hockey and in the AHL at points. It’s not a foreign concept, and would have at least Western Conference teams only have to go to California or Western Canada once or twice instead of three or four times, for example.
Still, it should be interesting to see what these games look like when the two teams are playing each other for the third time in four or five nights or back-to-back. And then when they have to start the playoffs against each other. If you feel like you missed out on something by not seeing the circus of 80s hockey, you just might get to right that wrong.