LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — The N.B.A. announced Friday that Danuel House Jr., a reserve forward for the Houston Rockets, had breached the league’s health and safety protocols by inviting an unauthorized guest to his hotel room and that he would be leaving the Walt Disney World campus, where the league has made a major investment to finish out its season inside its so-called bubble.
House did not play for the Rockets in Games 3 and 4 of their Western Conference semifinal series against the Los Angeles Lakers this week as the league conducted its investigation. The N.B.A. concluded that the guest, who was not identified by the league, had spent “multiple hours” in House’s hotel room at the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa on Tuesday, in direct violation of league rules. The league has stringent policies about who can be on campus — or even interact with the players — as it seeks to insulate itself from the coronavirus pandemic.
The league said in a statement that “no evidence was found that other players or staff had contact with the guest or were involved in this incident” and that House “will not participate with the Rockets team in additional games this season.”
The Rockets trail the Lakers, 3-1, in their best-of-seven series, with Game 5 scheduled for Saturday night.
The unauthorized guest was a woman who had worked on campus several weeks ago as a temperature checker, according to a person who was briefed on the investigation but was not authorized to publicly discuss it. It was not clear how she had managed to gain access to the property, which has secure checkpoints around the perimeter. But House propped one of the hotel doors open for her, the person said.
It also was not immediately clear whether House had been forced to leave the bubble by either the N.B.A. or the Rockets. A spokeswoman for the Rockets declined to comment. In a 113-page rule book issued before the season resumed in July, the league said that a violation of protocol would be punishable by “a warning, fine, suspension and/or removal from the campus.”
House, 27, was an important role player for the Rockets coming off the bench. In his fourth N.B.A. season, he averaged a career-best 10.5 points a game. He went undrafted in 2016 after playing college basketball at Houston and Texas A&M, then bounced around the N.B.A. — including stops in the G League — before working his way into the Rockets’ rotation.