On Thursday, multiple media outlets reported that Rockets wing Danuel House was being investigated by the NBA for bringing a female coronavirus testing official into his hotel room. On Friday, the league announced that it had found House guilty of violating the health and safety protocols for the NBA bubble for bringing an unauthorized guest into his hotel room for multiple hours. He will be leaving the bubble immediately, before the Rockets conclude the Western Conference Semifinals against the Lakers.
Here is the full statement from the NBA:
“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.”
The NBA stops short of saying that House is being kicked out, but it’s hard not to read this that way, given that they said that he had violated protocol and will not be back for the rest of the playoffs. It’s also pretty clear, based on this statement and previous reporting, what his specific violation probably was.
And while everyone can make jokes, and Rockets fans can cry “rigged,” the reality here is that this isn’t some grand conspiracy. The NBA appears to have caught House violating the rules redhanded, and the league just spent hundreds of millions of dollars to get the season restarted again.
Losing House is undoubtedly a blow for the Rockets, but the NBA was never going to take kindly to someone putting everything its achieved in jeopardy, no matter their reason for doing so, or how small the chance was that their actions could burst the bubble. The league has come too far to take any chances. This is bigger than the outcome of any one series. If he wanted to play, he should have followed the rules, just like everyone else.