Wells inactive for rest of season, future with Rockets uncertain

Updated: April 11, 2007, 5:58 PM ET
Associated Press

HOUSTON -- Guard Bonzi Wells will miss the rest of the season after mysteriously leaving the Houston Rockets, and his future with the team is uncertain.

Wells was fined and placed on the inactive list after failing to show for Monday's game in Seattle, the team said. Rockets spokesman Bob Schranz said Wednesday that Wells would not be activated this season.

Wells was not with the team before Wednesday night's game against the Trail Blazers, and his sudden departure was mostly a puzzle except for a message he left for the team trainer saying he was concerned he was disrupting team chemistry.

"He was fine. I have nothing but positives to say about him. In this one incident, he should have called me, but other than that, he handled himself very well," Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy said at the pregame shootaround at the Rose Garden.

The Rockets had clinched a playoff berth but were still contending for home-court advantage with four games left in the season, including Wednesday night's game.

Wells' agent, Bill Duffy, did not immediately return a phone message.

The 6-foot-5 Wells averaged 7.8 points and 4.3 rebounds in 28 games. His deactivation ends a tumultuous first season in Houston.

He signed a two-year, $4.4 million contract on Oct. 2, but his problems began almost immediately. He missed most of training camp with various injuries and was inactive for 18 of Houston's first 20 games. Van Gundy later admitted that he and Wells weren't getting along.

Wells returned in mid-December, but he was in and out of the lineup all season with back and foot injuries.

He was inactive for 18 games before coming back and scoring four points in last Friday's home loss to Portland. He played briefly in Sacramento against his former team and was taunted by fans for turning down the Kings' offseason offer to keep him.

When he didn't show up in Seattle on Monday, Wells left a message for Rockets trainer Keith Jones saying he felt he was hurting the team's chemistry.

Van Gundy said he hadn't spoken to Wells, but the two had exchanged text messages.

"It is what it is," Van Gundy said. "I'm much more concerned with tonight's game."

The absence is the latest turn in a career marked by suspensions and clashes with two of his previous coaches -- Maurice Cheeks in Portland and Mike Fratello in Memphis. Van Gundy recently said he initially had problems with Wells' attitude but things had improved.

Wells was to become a free agent after the season, and Van Gundy said he did not expect to see him with the team next year.

"He needed a team, and we felt like we needed more talent, Van Gundy said. "Sometimes those things work out well, sometimes not as well. This one didn't work, but certainly it wasn't his fault, or only his fault," he added. "Just moving on forward, really."

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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