The Houston Rockets — who currently trail the Los Angeles Lakers 3-1 in their Western Conference semifinal series — were dealt another blow on Friday with the news that forward Danuel House has officially been dismissed from the NBA’s Orlando, Florida bubble campus. Per an announcement from the league, House’s dismissal comes as the result of a “recent violation of campus health and safety protocols.”
One day earlier, it was reported by multiple outlets that the league was investigating House for allegedly inviting an unapproved female COVID-19 testing official into his hotel room. Per the Houston Chronicle, via NBC Sports, the testing official claimed to have had contact with center Tyson Chandler and another, unnamed Rockets player (not House). However, the NBA cleared Chandler on Wednesday as a result of its investigation and deemed the information on the other player to be “not credible.”
The Rockets are currently the only team left in Orlando that is occupying the Grand Floridian Hotel, where they are tested regularly for coronavirus infection per the association’s bubble guidelines. The probe into House’s misconduct is said to have centered on “door data” which showed House’s hotel room door having opened sometime during the hours the woman was purportedly in his company.
According to Ben Golliver of The Washington Post — again, via NBC — sources have indicated that Houston was “blindsided” by the investigation and there was little communication offered by the league regarding the matter, or even a presentation of the evidence against House.
“The NBA is treating [House] as guilty until proven innocent for safety reasons,” said a person with knowledge of the situation, per Golliver.
Though House may not a foundational piece for the Rockets — like James Harden, Russell Westbrook or even Eric Gordon — he has been a key cog for the club over the past two seasons. During the 2019-20 regular season, the 27-year-old started in 52 games and averaged a career-high 10.5 points and 4.2 rebounds per contest, per NBA Stats. He has also been a respectable deep threat, connecting on better than 36 percent of his nearly six three-point attempts per game this season.
His loss could prove to be the fatal blow to the Rockets’ current postseason run, which had, arguably, been circling the proverbial drain already. After the Oklahoma City Thunder took the team to a surprising seventh game in Round 1, the Rockets surprisingly managed to win Game 1 of their series against the top-seeded Lakers. However, they have subsequently fallen prey to a clear talent disadvantage, even as the ensuing three losses remained relatively close.
As shared last week by The Inquisitr, a recent Fansided report theorized that the Rockets could deal Westbrook to the New York Knicks.