Goodbye Eddie House. Hello Nate Robinson.
Reports are that Robinson has cleared out his locker and House spoke with media today, all but saying he’ll be joining the Knicks.
Not the blockbuster some had expected and hoped for, but let’s analyze this trade while hoping for news of what else Danny Ainge has in store for the Celtics.
First, can this trade help the Celtics?
Robinson can be an explosive scorer and can provide instant offense off the bench. Robinson is not noted as an effective defender; but neither was House. And coming to Boston, where defense is stressed, and playing alongside Kevin Garnett and being coached by Tom Thibodeau, could very easily improve Robinson’s defense.
House was averaging just 7.2 points on 40.1 shooting from the floor and 38.3 from three, all lows during his time in Boston. Robinson, on the other hand, was averaging 13.2 points this season. And while that is down from his 17.2 average last year, both his field-goal (45.2) and three-point percentages (37.5) have improved this year.
Also, this was almost definitely Eddie House’s last year in Boston. Robinson will be a free agent as well, but if it works out over the last 30 games, Ainge could have an easy job locking him up for a return next season with the C’s.
Can the trade hurt the Celtics?
Yes, as well.
Robinson could upset the team chemistry, that reportedly, might not be where it needs to be to begin with. With the Celtics, Robinson will be a back-up. He was playing 24 minutes per game with the Knicks, which already represented a low for him since 2007.
Coming to the Celtics, he likely will not be playing even that many minutes. House this year was playing just 17 minutes per game. While Robinson could find himself being called upon for more than House, he likely will still be on the court less than the 24 minutes he was playing for the Knicks.
When it comes to team chemistry, Robinson’s potential to rock the boat increases when it is factored in he is replacing someone who by all appearances was an ideal team player. Playing well or not, playing many minutes or not, House was always into the game, always cheering and pulling for his teammates.
Also, House was just starting to play well for the Celtics. Over his last five games, he was averaging 9.8 points and 52.9 percent from three. If Robinson does not adjust to playing in Boston and House continues this hot streak, Danny Ainge could come to regret the move.
Was the trade worth it?
Although I hate to see a team player like Eddie House go, I think it was worth the risk. The Celtics have looked lifeless far too often over the last month. While there is a risk, the risk is minimal. Bringing a young player who potentially could be electric coming off the bench, is a chance Ainge had to take.
Although the risk is minimal, one problem with this trade is that the reward is minimal as well. The Celtics have struggled since Christmas. Even if Robinson fits in perfectly, it is difficult to see him as being the missing piece for the Celtics. Kevin Garnett is still hobbling, Paul Pierce’s foot is still sore, and Ray Allen is still missing too many shots. Nate Robinson cannot change any of that.
There is still time for another move. Ainge has found someone he thinks can be the back-up point guard he has really been searching for since 2008. If this is the first of several moves, Ainge has done his job. On the other hand, if this is all he can pull off before the deadline, the Celtics will not find themselves reaching the heights they set their sights on at the start of the season.
Lastly, a word on Eddie House.
This is all anyone really needs to know about the type of player and teammate Eddie House is – today, the Celtics gave him the option to stay at hotel while they tried to work out the final details of the trade. House declined, and wanted to go to practice with his teammates, perhaps one final time.
My favorite Eddie House moments, other than the one’s involving his son running around the sidelines as a ball boy, naturally occurred during the team’s title run in 2008.
House had played well all season as the team’s back-up point guard. But come playoffs, Doc Rivers went with Sam Cassell almost exclusively as Rajon Rondo’s back-up. House never said a word; never complained. He cheered on his teammates the same as he had all season. This continued even though in three of the team’s first 12 playoff games, House registered a DNP-CD.
In Game Six against Cleveland, Rivers finally turned to House, who responded with eight points in 18 minutes. In Game Seven, House again contributed. He only scored four points, but his energy off the bench no doubt provided a much needed spark and helped the team move on to the Eastern Conference Finals.
In the Finals, House missed a jumper that could have tied Game Three in the closing minutes and the Lakers secured the victory, winning their first game of the series. The following game, however, House helped Boston pull off a record comeback.
He hit a jumper with 4:07 left to give Boston its first lead of the game, 84-83. Boston never relinquished that lead, went ahead three games to one, and wrapped up the series in a memorable Game Six rout.
I am not going to feel badly for someone making millions of dollars to play in the NBA. But, I hate to see someone like Eddie House, who was everything anyone could have asked for when he came to Boston, be traded away.
Thanks Eddie for all of your contributions to the Celtics, and best of luck with the Knicks and in the future.