The Rockets were “not optimistic” Thursday that the NBA would reach a final decision on its probe into whether forward Danuel House Jr. violated the health and safety protocols on the league’s Florida campus in time for Game 4, but House has continued to insist he did not break the rules being investigated, a person with knowledge of the situation said.
LAKE BUENA VISTA, FLORIDA – SEPTEMBER 06: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers is defended by Danuel House Jr. #4 of the Houston Rockets during the second quarter against the Houston Rockets in Game Two of the Western Conference Second Round during the 2020 NBA Playoffs at AdventHealth Arena at the ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on September 06, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)
The league has information that one of its contracted COVID-19 testing employees entered the Rockets’ Grand Floridian Hotel late night on Monday and has based its investigation of House on “door data” which showed House’s hotel room door opened sometime in those hours.
The woman, however, implicated Rockets center Tyson Chandler and another player and not House, the individual said. Chandler was cleared by the NBA investigation on Wednesday. The information on the other player was deemed not credible.
House has been “adamant” throughout the process that he was not involved in the violation, the person with information about the investigation said. There was no immediate indication beyond the “door data” that implicated House.
House and Chandler missed Game 3 of the Rockets’ series against the Lakers for what the Rockets, under the league’s direction, termed “personal matters.” House is listed as out for Game 4.
ESPN reported on Wednesday that the ongoing investigation could jeopardize House’s potential return to the Western Conference semifinals. Yahoo Sports reported that the investigation centers on allowing a female testing official into his hotel room.
Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni, when asked on Wednesday if House could be available on Thursday, said, “We haven’t heard, yet.”
House, who has been the Rockets’ first substitute off the bench since Russell Westbrook returned from his injury in Game 5 of the first round series against the Thunder, had scored 13 points on 5 of 10 shooting in Game 2 and has averaged 11.4 points in the playoffs this season, making 43.5 percent of his shots.