Wednesday, February 17, 2010
House expects to be traded
By Chris Forsberg
WESTWOOD, Calif. -- Boston Celtics guard Eddie House practiced with the team Wednesday on the campus of UCLA, but acknowledged that he expects to be traded to the New York Knicks in a deal that would bring Nate Robinson to Boston before Thursday's 3 p.m. ET trade deadline.
Celtics coach Doc Rivers stressed the deal is not done, but confirmed talks are ongoing.
"I was talking with my agent and there's a strong possibility that I'll be traded [Thursday] to New York," said House. "With that being said, I've always had a bond with these guys. I love playing with [the Celtics], but at the end of the day, it's a business. The Celtics feel like they're a better team with the guy they're trying to get. I gotta move on, that's what it is. I'm here at practice today, I'm a basketball player, I'm going to do what I love to do. Then [Thursday] I'll figure out what's going to happen.
"At the end of the day, you can't control it. It's out of my hands -- it's never been in my hands. Wherever I go, if I go to New York, I'll play two months, try to play real strong basketball, get some wins with those guys, and make a good account for me for free agency."
House is making $2.86 million in the final year of his contract. Still left to be determined is how exactly the Celtics and Knicks can swing a deal given that Robinson is a base-year compensation player, meaning only about $2 million of his $4 million salary this season can be counted in any trade.
While House's teammates initially shied from talking about the deal ("If it happens, then it happens, I'm just focused on [the Lakers]," said Paul Pierce), House stood up to the microphones to talk openly about the rumors before the start of Boston's session.
House expressed excitement about potentially reconnecting with Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni, whom he played for in Phoenix.
"That helps a lot," said House. "I know the coaching staff, I know the system, I know the plays they run. I know my style fits right in. I'm feeling good right now about the way I'm playing. It's going to be a good thing. You have to take it like that.
"Nothing surprises me in this league. You never know what can happen. I take it all in stride. It had to be for a reason. Whatever that reason is."
House also acknowledged that he came to practice on the off chance a deal with New York fell apart. While admitting the chances of that are slim, he practiced Wednesday with the idea he'll play against the Lakers, then adjust if a deal becomes official.
Rivers wouldn't comment directly on the trade negotiations, but noted that, if House was to depart in a trade, he would be losing one of his core guys, which Rivers said is tough to imagine. House spent the past three seasons in Boston, including the championship season of 2007-08. Last season he set a Celtics record with 44.5 percent shooting from 3-point land (besting a man, president of basketball operations Danny Ainge, who is likely to trade him Thursday).
House was a fan favorite for his high energy and perimeter shooting, but he's struggled this season, connecting on 64 of 167 3-pointers (40.1 percent) through 50 games. If Tuesday's visit to Sacramento was his final contest in green, he went out with a bang by scoring 12 points with a quartet of triples in a 95-92 triumph.
"It's easy for me to move guys from the exterior of the core, but it's difficult to even think about touching anyone in the core," said Rivers. "If we do this, that, in my opinion, is what we'd be doing here. To me, that's a tough thing to do. But that's life in the NBA."
Added Rivers: "I'm not going to talk about [a potential trade] until it is done. If something gets done, then I'll talk. If nothing gets done, then there's nothing to talk about, which would be great."
Asked if he gave House the opportunity to skip practice, Rivers said: "I talked to Eddie, told him what was going on. I was honest with him. I told him if he didn't want to practice, [he didn't have to] -- but I also told him nothing is done, and nothing is done."
Robinson, a first-round pick (21st overall) of the Phoenix Suns in the 2005 draft, has spent his entire five-year career with the Knicks. He's averaging 13.2 points and 3.7 assists per game this season, but has appeared in only 30 contests after falling out of favor in New York.
A three-time slam-dunk contest champion, Robinson will be expected to provide a different sort of offensive outburst than House off the bench, but he's also a high-energy guy and, while designated a point guard, he's known more for scoring the ball than distributing it.