Much like last season with James Posey, a Mark Bartelstein client has the chance to greatly impact the Celtics' off-season. Mark Murphy reports:
[Eddie] House’s love for his current situation may not preclude him from testing the free agent market next month.
"We haven’t made a final decision," agent Mark Bartelstein said. "He’d love to stay in Boston. He loves everything about what he has here. The fans have been great to him, and he’s been a big part of the team."But I think it’s safe to say that he’s outplayed his contract."
"Everybody is a little unsure of [the economy]," said Bartelstein. "But I know this much - there’s a lot of guys who were backup players making more than Eddie who served as window dressing on their teams."
On one hand, of course, Bartelstein is correct; there are many players in the NBA with larger contracts who aren't as good as Eddie House. On the other hand, House is a one dimensional player coming off the best season of his career at age 30. Prior to signing in Boston, he'd bounced around to four different teams, none of which had paid Eddie more than $1.4 million. The $2,862,000 he's due to earn if he picks up his option may not be such a bad thing, then. If Eddie miscalculates here, he could easily end up with a minimum salary deal somewhere.
If House does elect to become a free agent, it will be an interesting decision for Ainge. As an "Early Bird" free agent, the Celtics could offer House any amount up to the MLE without having to dip into the mid-level exception or any other exception we have. However, does it make sense to pay Eddie $3 million-plus per season? There has been plenty of speculation that Danny is operating under a tight budget, especially because the Celtics are essentially paying a dollar-for-dollar luxury tax penalty on any player they sign next season. Another consideration to think about: if Eddie opts out, and Danny lets him walk, does that free up more money for BBD to come back?
I'm hoping that all of the questions above are moot, and that Eddie decides not to opt out. The current relationship seems to be working out great for both parties, and $2.8 million seems like fair compensation to me. Hopefully looks at Posey's choice to follow the money, and realizes that the grass isn't always greener.