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Does Eddie House Have a Point?

 

In all the thinking I’ve done about this off-season and beyond, I didn’t spend more than a second considering Eddie House’s $2.86 million player option for 2009-10. Of course he’d take it. He’d be a fool not to. 

But over the weekend House’s agent, Mark Bartelstein, essentially threatened that House would opt out of his deal, saying House had “outplayed his contract” and that several inferior players will earn more than $2.86 million next season. 

That argument doesn’t hold a lot of weight with me. It’s not the Celtics’ fault that the Lakers agreed to pay Sasha Vujacic $5 million per season or that Bucks signed Dan Gadzuric to a six-year, $36 million extension in 2005. The fact that other teams overpaid mediocre players does not mean Eddie House is underpaid. 

I’d be more willing to listen to the reverse argument–that players in Eddie House’s pay range are obviously worse than House, and that therefore he is underpaid. With that in mind, I looked up all the players–other than those still on their rookie deals–scheduled to earn around $2.8 million or less next season. This is the entire group, according to DraftExpress:

Mark Madsen ($2.84 million)

Sebastian Telfair ($2.5 million)

Maurice Evans ($2.5M)

Tony Allen ($2.5M)

Ricky Davis ($2.48M)

Chuck Hayes ($2.1M)

Jarvis Hayes ($2.06M)

Anthony Johnson ($2.06M)

Brent Barry ($2.06M)

Antoine Wright ($1.98M)

Travis Diener ($1.74M)

Francisco Elson ($1.7M)

Jose Juan Barea ($1.65M)

Devean George ($1.6M)

Brian Skinner ($1.3M)

Malik Allen ($1.3M)

Donyell Marshall ($1.3M)

Devin Brown ($1.1M)

D.J. Mbenga ($959K)

Royal Ivey ($959K)

Yakhouba Diawara ($940K)

Anthony Roberson ($855K)

Tarence Kinsey ($855K)

Louis Amundson ($855K)

Will Bynum ($825K)

Adonal Foyle ($700K)

The upshot: There just aren’t a lot of veteran NBA players who make as “little” as Eddie House is scheduled to make next season. Still, I’m not sure if this helps or hurts Eddie’s argument. On the one hand, this is an uninspiring list, and Eddie contributes more than most of these guys. On the other hand, there are some guys here, especially in the top tier, who are at least as valuable to their teams in their own ways as Eddie is to the Celtics–Chuck Hayes, Anthony Johnson and Brent Barry especially. 

So let’s look at some of the non-rookie-deal players immediately above Eddie on the salary list and come to a final conclusion, after the jump.

Here’s that list:

Steve Blake ($4.0M)

Keyon Dooling ($3.6M)

Charlie Bell ($3.6M)

Brian Cook ($3.5M)

Brian Scalabrine ($3.4M)

Matt Bonner ($3.267M)

Eduardo Najera ($3.0M)

Taken together, I think House is fairly compensated at $2.8 million. He’s a one-dimensional player who can’t create his own shot and can’t run the point against good defenses. (In fairness, he’s pretty damn good at that one dimension, and he’ll win you a few games a year with it). He’s nothing more than average defender at best, and Doc is clearly afraid to use him for extended minutes against teams with big guards or good scorers in the back court–whether that fear is well-founded or not. It’s the main reason Doc initially went with Tony Allen when the Bulls inserted their small line-up during the Greatest First-Round Series Ever–Doc simply wasn’t comfortable with House guarding Rose, Gordon or Hinrich for long stretches. (Of course, when Doc finally got sick of Tony Allen clanking awkward runners with the game on the line, swallowed hard and sent Eddie out there for Game 7, it sort of turned out well). 

(Side note: Eddie’s defensive numbers in the last couple of years aren’t as bad as I’d thought. His defensive ratings since joining Boston–100 in ’08, 103 last season–are outstanding, but that stat–a measure of how many points a player yields per 100 possessions–is about 80 percent determined by team performance. So let’s look elsewhere. According to 82games.com, the C’s defense gave up about three points more per 100 possessions with Eddie on the floor, which isn’t surprising, considering he spends a lot of time out there with fellow back-ups. (The gap was only 0.7 points per 100 possessions in ’08). Lastly, according to the newish stats at Basketball Prospectus, House’s direct counterpart on the other team performed only at about 93 percent of “his” (that’s a collective “his”) regular offensive level when matched up against Eddie. 

My head hurts. Can we just agree he’s average, at best, and can’t be counted on to guard good players consistently? Thanks. End of side note).

So what’s the verdict? What should the C’s do if Eddie really opts out? I say call his bluff. But in doing so, be willing to pay him exactly that $2.86 million if he can’t find it on the open market and decides he wants to come back. But I’m not comfortable going any higher right now, and I don’t think we’ll have to. Eddie will pull the trigger on the option.

  • http://Espn Tom

    As much as I love E HOUSE, Lets be honset he is a shooting guard in a point guards body thats has a hard time getting the ball up the floor ans is undersized in most defensive match ups just ask michael Pietrus and Courntey Lee because they used him. He is a Vinnie johnson clone but 2.86 mill for 20 minn a game if he dosent want the job ill take it.

  • http://loscy.wordpress.com/ CeltsFanatic

    I just wrote a lengthy, lenghty post about Eddie House as well. Just click above to read it all, but here is an excerpt (or 2):

    As far as we know, Eddie is healthy. He keeps himself in pretty good shape– not too many concerns about wear & tear or age quite yet. So really, House is in the best position possible to go and sign elsewhere to lock up a few more years: just came off his best season in the NBA and is healthy. But herein lies the problem: I don’t think he will be seeing more money than $2.8 million, but he may be able to get some piece of mind in a longer term deal. The only concern around any team signing House right now, which is a big concern, is that no one knows how he will fare down the road. He’s been a streaky guy his entire career. If we pause to un-romanticize ourselves from House and the Celtics just for a second, then we’d probably realize that Eddie fits into an up-tempo system better than our system. The Knicks. The Suns. Golden State. Maybe even the Clippers. But unfortunately, these teams aren’t really in a position to pick up an undersized shooting guard (again, 6’-1”) that had a career year and could potentially see a drop in production over the next few years. Are any of these teams (I’ll even throw Milwaukee in there) really going to give a guy like Eddie $3-4 million for the next few years? No way. There is no way Eddie is going to see more money than he is seeing from the Celtics for the 2009-2010 season ($2.8 million). Again, Eddie might see an additional couple of years with an extended contract, but I don’t think that this is any more realistic than the money. There is no way people are going to sign a bench player for a 2-3 year contract when it will be taking away money for them to bid on the high profile players available in the 2010 free agency summer sweepstakes.

    Here is another argument for him staying put for this upcoming season: he might not thrive in another organization like he thrives in Boston. Why on earth would Eddie want to go play somewhere else for 2009-2010? He needs to think about the future, of course, but he also needs to think about what is realistic for right now. Eddie won’t see more money, but if he can stay and be an integral part to the Celtics run for #18 then he will have 2 rings that he helped win on his resume. That could earn him a few years for a team looking to add a small piece after their big signings in 2010.

    Eddie plays for a competent front office and coaching staff that believe in him and thinks he is part of the puzzle to winning. These guys would chop their children’s arms off to put up banner #18, and Eddie fits in well. House is an emotional guy– he feeds off of the intensity and energy of others while symbiotically giving it back to his teammates. Is Eddie going to find another locker room like Boston? A team with 3 future hall of famers that are now officially tested and true veterans with a ring on their finger? A team that has 2 straight seasons of sell-outs, and counting? Fans that will freakin’ buy his jersey (I guarantee no one else has ever bought his jersey prior to coming to Boston). A team that is easily one of the contenders for a title? I mean come on, all I have to say is Kevin Garnett. House needs to be playing with a guy like KG. I just don’t think Eddie will be effective if he isn’t being intravenously injected with this type of hype, intensity, energy, and drive that is in infinite supply from his Celtics teammates.

    Really, though… this economic climate and the uncertainty of the future financial landscape of the association is causing lots of problems for teams, but in this case with Eddie, it’s actually kind of a blessing for Boston. He’s not going to get more money elsewhere. For $2.8 million, I think that Danny and company played their cards just right: this is a great price tag for the value of House… instant offense from a guy who knows our system.

    So luckily for the Celtics, they can’t really beat the value of House but hopefully they don’t have to. Sometimes the best choice is no choice. Here, I just don’t see a real choice for Eddie, which works out well to maintain some stability on the Celts bench. Eddie: it looks like a default choice for you.

  • KY Celts fan

    Although I like House, he would be a good guy to pair with Scal, T. Allen, or Pruitt for a late first round pick. We could draft Jodie Meeks (I'm a UK fan, so admittedly biased) who can bring the same shooting power of House (avg. 23.6 ppg this season, 1st in the SEC), but is also a better defender, ball handler, and taller (6'4"). Great replacement for House, plus would free up some cap space and a roster position to sign a free-agent SF to back-up Pierce.

  • http://nbaroundtable.wordpress.com/ Dave

    Eddie House is on a good contract. He won't opt out, he hasn't, ever, made this type of money in his career.

    If he does opt out, the team shouldn't offer him a pay rise. Either a comparable contract, or downgrade it to $2.5mil.

  • B.J.

    I say we trade eddie, or Scal, to Marc Gasol of Memphis to back up Perk, and give us a lot more size off the bench.

  • B.J.

    Marc started to show his shinning points at times this year. I think next year he will break out, and be almost as good as Pau

  • D

    Give me a break.

    He saved your azz in a lot of games.

    To diss somesone like this is to justify what a lot of the other players percetions have been for a lot of years. You guys are like the MAN. Use and abuse, or exploit. Give me a break. When he's not there next year, go cry on your moma's ti* cause thats where youe are.

  • dylan

    listen here. to me eddie house is one of the premiere three point players to make the shot, besides ray allen and the other good 3 pt. makers in the league. but lets face it. Eddie you are not being underpaid, so what if it is not what you expect that you would be payed, but be thankful that you will be on their roster for next year. still 2.86 million is a god deal of money. and you can live off that

  • dylan

    B.J. trade scal or eddie. now scal has realy off games. but Marc Gasol is not any bette than house or scal. and we got KG when he is healthy. or glen big baby davis. so just stfu and dont give any more suggestions you freakin retard. your so stupid. if we trade house. then do you know how bad of a message and how much crap boston will get from the fans. you stupid little moran

  • KY Celts fan

    Calm down now. No one is dissing House. In fact, everyone is being overly generous in their praise of him. I like the guy, too. Great teammate. Puts his heart into the game, always playing with effort. But let's be honest here. He only had a handful of games where he showed that shooting power everyone is so ecstatic about. I'd love to see him stay, and most fans would, too. But fans would rather have Banner 18 than House. And the bench needs help. You can't expect to trade Pruitt, Giddens, and Moore and come back with something useful. You need someone other teams want, and House could be that guy. A great shooter, yes (well, sometimes), but a problem in many other areas. I still say trade for a first round pick and go for Jodie Meeks.

  • bolvbball

    I look at this way,the Celtics has given House something as well,a championship,a chance to win one again for a few more seasons.Also,he is not overworked or overplayed where he might go to a team with a bunch of scrubs and ask to play outside his role and be a part of a losing team.Your career can be over a lot sooner than you think,playing for bad teams.

  • lvmainman

    Clearly he's underpaid. If the majority of players make more like Charlie Bell 3.6, Kenyon Dooling 3.6, Sasha Vujacic 5, Matt Carroll 4.7, and Marcus Banks 4.4, then clearly the market says he's worth more. The free market would ratchet up his pay. Plain and simple.

  • jay

    Eddie House was exposed in the orlando series. He got absolutely shut down, he doesn't have the speed to get away from quick defenders, and he can't handle the ball well enough to beat them off the dribble when they overplay his shot. Sure he's one of the best spot up shooters in the league when he doesn't happen to be guarded by someone slow enough to get lost in the picks. But really how can we justify paying anymore than we already are for a guy who's just a glorified one trick pony.

    Add in the fact that he's at best an average defender, and we come to the only viable conclusion… he's making all he's worth.

  • B.J.

    hey guy, there's no need to be so hateful. We're all C's fans here, and if your not, then get the F**K off! But, I am serious about Marc. Next year will be his year, and I think trading anyone outside our starting 5, would be worth it. (and by the way I'm deff not little, so stop trying to boost your own self esteem by diminishing the thoughts/belittling others.)

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