Houston Rockets forward Danuel House Jr. is leaving the NBA bubble and will not return after the league's investigation found that he had an unauthorized guest in his room for "multiple hours" earlier this week. No other players were implicated in the violation. The NBA released the following statement:
The NBA has concluded its investigation of a recent violation of campus health and safety protocols. The findings are that: (i) Houston Rockets forward Danuel House had a guest in his hotel room over multiple hours on September 8 who was not authorized to be on campus and (ii) no evidence was found that other players or staff had contact with the guest or were involved in this incident.
Mr. House is leaving the NBA campus and will not participate with the Rockets team in additional games this season.
House allowed a female COVID-19 testing official into his hotel room, which launched the league's investigation, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. House was a late scratch from Houston's lineup for Game 3 of their Western Conference semifinal matchup against the Los Angeles Lakers for "personal reasons," and he remained out for Thursday's Game 4 loss.
Shams Charania and Sam Amick of The Athletic have formulated a detailed account of what transpired regarding House and the woman:
A woman entered the Rockets' team hotel on Monday night, passing multiple security checkpoints before being flagged for her entry, sources said. She exited the hotel in the early hours of Tuesday morning, and the league cited early data points that implicated two members of the Rockets, House and Tyson Chandler, sources said. When the woman was questioned by NBA security, she did not implicate House's name and it is uncertain whether she remains on campus, sources said. She claimed to have contact with Chandler and another player, not named House, according to sources.
According to sources, the Rockets' entire team had to enter a quarantine period on Tuesday due to the potential exposure. Those sources said there appears to be no video connecting House and the woman; only the flagging of her entering and leaving the hotel, and the possibility of a door opening and closing to match those timelines.
House originally denied the accusations, and the Rockets have also supported House while he was quarantined throughout this whole process.
Rockets coach Mike D'Antoni commented on the situation prior to Game 4, emphasizing the importance of making the most of what the team still has.
"I don't know. The investigation is going on, so when they come out with their ruling or whatever, then we'll just go from there," D'Antoni said. "It's never a good time, like an injury. But it's something that, you know, the whole COVID thing is different. So you just deal with it. We got enough. We just go forward, concentrate on what we got and try to get the job done."
Many thought that, even if found to have committed a violation, House would face a 10-day quarantine, so it's somewhat surprising that he's leaving the bubble altogether. It's still unclear whether that was his choice or if the league forced him to leave.
The Rockets are one game away from elimination and face a must-win Game 5 on Saturday. If their playoff journey is going to continue beyond that, they'll have to do it without House, who averaged 11.4 points, and 5.8 rebounds on 36 percent 3-point shooting in nine games this postseason.