Rockets’ James Harden Takes Jab at Clippers’ Kawhi Leonard for Load Management

Kawhi Leonard

Getty James Harden appeared to take a jab at Kawhi Leonard for his load management techniques.

It’s safe to say that the Houston Rockets‘ James Harden is not a fan of load management.

According to the former league MVP, Harden answered a reporter’s question regarding whether or not he plans on taking time off for load management. Needless to say, the Rockets star did not hesitate in saying no, and then asked the reporter a question on if he’s ever seen Harden actually take time off for load management.

In other words, he won’t be taking the Kawhi Leonard route anytime soon.

Check out the video below.

Harden Doesn’t Sit Out for Load Management

Harden appeared in 78 games last season and with the exception of the 2017-18 season, the 30-year-old veteran has never appeared in less than 78 regular season games since the start of the 2014-15 season.

The topic of load management has become a major topic throughout the NBA this week after Leonard took off Wednesday’s big matchup between the Los Angeles Clippers and Milwaukee Bucks. The game was a nationally-televised affair and it was a potential preview of the 2020 NBA Finals. However, Leonard sat out the game as the Clippers had to play the Portland Trail Blazers the following night.

The NBA had approved the Clippers’ plan to sit Leonard due to load management. Leonard was not cleared to medically play by the team doctors — he was limited to just nine games as a member of the San Antonio Spurs during the 2017-18 season. Furthermore, he played in just 60 games with the Toronto Raptors as the Raptors frequently elected not to play him in back-to-backs.

NBA Defends Decision to Allow Kawhi Leonard to Sit

Here is what league spokesperson Mike Bass had to say regarding the league’s decision to uphold the Clippers’ decision to rest Leonard, via Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times.

“Kawhi Leonard is not a healthy player under the league’s resting policy, and, as such, is listed as managing a knee injury in the L.A. Clippers injury report,” league spokesman Mike Bass said in a statement sent to the Los Angeles Times. “The league office, in consultation with the NBA’s director of sports medicine is comfortable with the team medical staff’s determination that Leonard is not sufficiently healthy to play in back-to-back games at this time.”

Teams are at risk of being fined for sitting big-name players for high-profile matchups — which was the case when Leonard’s Clippers took on Giannis Antetokounmpo‘s Bucks on Wednesday night.

As Greif explains, teams can be fined a minimum of $100,000.

“The NBA prohibits teams from resting otherwise healthy players for high-profile, nationally televised games, at risk of a fine starting at $100,000. The Clippers haven’t be fined and are compliant with that policy because they listed the reason for Leonard’s absence not as “rest,” but “load management” of a knee, which falls under the category of injury or illness.”

Although the team avoided any sort of fine for sitting Leonard, head coach Doc Rivers didn’t as he was fined $50,000 by the league for his comments regarding Leonard’s health in which he seemed to contradict the notion that Leonard is actually injured.

Regardless, the topic of load management isn’t going away anytime soon — just don’t expect Harden to ever sit out due to load management.