Denver Nuggets, Houston Rockets

Nikola Jokic and James Harden finally join their teams in Orlando

The two superstars for the respective Western Conference powerhouses arrived five days later than their teams.

Denver Nuggets and Houston Rockets fans can breathe a sigh of relief. Superstars Nikola Jokic and James Harden both finally arrived in the Orlando bubble Tuesday, five days later than their respective teams.

Jokic was seen walking out of Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort Tuesday around 5 p.m. ET, so it’s safe to assume he arrived earlier in the afternoon. The 7-foot center wore a long-sleeved team warmup shirt with gray shorts, flip flops and a military-designed, blue-colored mask.

What took James Harden and Nikola Jokic so long?

Considering Jokic walked out of the hotel on his own in leisurely attire and a mask, he seems to be fully recovered from the coronavirus. Jokic tested positive for the disease in mid-June while back home in Serbia. Although he was asymptomatic, he had to remain there until he was clear of the virus before returning to the United States.

Once cleared, Jokic flew to Denver first for a cardiac screening to ensure he was virus-free before being given the green light to go to Orlando.

Harden was seen carrying his luggage into Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa Tuesday around 10 p.m. ET. The 6-foot-5 shooting guard wore a white long-sleeved shirt with military camo shorts and gray sneakers. The lighting makes it difficult to see his face, but he’s definitely wearing some type of face protection under his fedora.

Although the Rockets nor Harden himself have disclosed a specific reason for his delayed arrival (via ESPN), it could be related to the team’s coronavirus complications thus far. Backup small forward Bruno Caboclo “accidentally” left his room during the initial quarantine period and is now self-isolating for an additional eight days. Star point guard Russell Westbrook tested positive for the disease on Monday and is in danger of missing the start of the NBA resumption.

Regardless, as long as Harden is there, the Rockets should be competitive with or without Westbrook. The same concept applies for the Nuggets if Jokic didn’t arrive in time for the restart as well.

The Rockets are set to restart the season on July 31 against the Dallas Mavericks. The Nuggets will take on the Miami Heat on Aug. 1.

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