Sleep easy, Heatians: Eddie House isn’t going anywhere. According to Mike Wallace of ESPN.com’s Heat Index, House has accepted his player option for next season and will spend the 2011-2012 campaign — in whatever length the lockout allows — with the Heat.
House’s option is worth approximately $1.4 million next season, per Storytellers Contracts — a reasonable cost for an effective spot shooter. House’s skill set is quite limited, but Miami will retain him on the cheap and have another backcourt option in case their other plans (namely, the recently drafted Norris Cole) go sour. This isn’t the kind of move that alters any sense of the team or the league’s balance (as good as House is at what he does, shooters of his breed are a very replaceable NBA commodity), but one that nonetheless makes a decent amount of sense for all parties involved.
Mario Chalmers may or may not be with the Heat next season. Cole is an incredibly intriguing prospect, but still unproven as an NBA-caliber player. Mike Bibby likely won’t be re-signed. All of that leaves House as a possible fail-safe; even if Chalmers ends up on another roster, Miami will — at the very least — have Cole and House to fill in minutes alongside Dwyane Wade in the Heat backcourt. Free agency will undoubtedly bring an entirely new set of options to the table, but House is the safe incumbent. He’s far from ideal, but he can manage to be productive in limited minutes if need be, and will fade into the background without consequence if Miami comes up with a superior rotation player.
According to multiple sources, Heat president Pat Riley said earlier today that he expects veteran swingman James Jones and veteran guard Eddie House to pick up their player options for next season, which are worth a combined $2.66 million next season. Riley also said that he expects veteran center Zydrunas Ilgauskas, who has already picked up his player option for next season, not to retire, saying that he believes Ilgauskas has “a lot left in the tank.”
Jones, a three-point specialist, had a great year for the Heat, as he knocked down his threes, played good positional defense, and almost never made a mistake on the court. Jones’ play allowed the Heat to deal with Mike Miller’s ineffectiveness during the regular season, but Jones was essentially benched in favor of Miller for most of the Conference Finals and all of the NBA Finals.
House, another three-point specialist, played spot minutes for the Heat as a backup point guard, appearing in 56 regular season games and seven postseason games for the Heat. House averaged 6.5 points per game in the regular season, and 1.6 points in the postseason.
Ilgauskas started more than half of the Heat’s regular-season games at center, but was essentially out of the playoff rotation after struggling mightily on defense in the nine playoff games he appeared in.
The 2-3-2 format of the NBA Finals makes home-court a huge advantage — in order to win the series, the team without home-court advantage has to either win three games in a row or two games on the road over the course of a seven-game series.
In this year’s NBA Finals, the Heat have home-court advantage, and the team hasn’t lost at home throughout the playoffs, giving them a massive edge over the Mavericks. How did they get home-court advantage? A crazy final game of the regular season that saw Eddie House pour in a game-high 35 points on 7-13 shooting from beyond the arc as LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh watched from the bench. The AP’s Tim Reynolds has the story:
MIAMI (AP)—LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh will play Game 1 of the NBA finals on their home floor.
They can thank Eddie House, Juwan Howard and Jamaal Magloire for that privilege.
The story goes like this: On the final night of the regular season, the Miami Heat were playing against theToronto Raptors—and had an eye on the Dallas Mavericks. The Heat were already locked into the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference, but the game was far from meaningless in the sense that by winning, Miami would finish with the NBA’s third-best record.
Miami finished with 58 wins. Dallas finished with 57. Had the teams ended tied, Game 1 of the finals would be in Dallas, since the Mavericks swept the Heat in the regular season. Instead, the Heat hold home-court advantage going into the title series—hardly a minor deal considering Miami is the only team still unbeaten at home in this year’s playoffs.
Pretty wild stuff. Yahoo! Sports’ Kelly Dwyer is probably more right than wrong in saying that the Heat’s win in the final game of the regular season had a lot more to do with the Raptors just wanting the season to be over than House, Howard, and Magloire giving some sort of superhuman effort, but it’s still crazy to think that House, who’s scored a grand total of one basket in the playoffs, had such a big potential impact on how the Finals are going to shake out.
I’m sure the Mavericks, for their part, are wishing that the Raptors had taken game #82 a lot more seriously than they did.