NBA looking into facts behind Harden’s absence from 76ers’ nationally televised opener in Milwaukee

MILWAUKEE – The Philadelphia 76ers went to Milwaukee without James Harden and the NBA wants to know why.

The league, which strengthened its rules about resting healthy players this summer, is investigating the reasons behind Harden’s absence from the 76ers’ nationally televised season opener against the Bucks on Thursday night.

“We’re looking into the facts around James Harden’s availability tonight to determine whether an approved reason exists for his lack of participation,” NBA spokesman Mike Bass said in a statement.

Harden wants to be traded and was away from the Sixers recently until returning this week. Coach Nick Nurse said Wednesday that the point guard wouldn’t travel with the team so he could work on rebuilding his conditioning with team staff members at the 76ers’ training facility.

TNT reported during the 76ers’ 118-117 loss that Harden had attempted to board the team plane to Milwaukee and was turned away. Asked after the game whether that report was accurate, Nurse replied that “there was a report that he showed up for practice and we determined that he should stay back for conditioning.”

The player participation policy requires teams to demonstrate an approved reason for a star player to miss national TV games (such as Phoenix listing injuries for Devin Booker and Bradley Beal that had them missing the Suns’ visit to the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday night).

Teams could be fined $100,000 for their first violation of the policy.

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