Rockets’ starter Danuel House returns to G-League after failed talks to convert two-way contract

Associated Press
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The concept of a two-way contract — giving a guy a chance to get run in the G-League and spend some time with the big club — sounds great in concept, but agents and some players are not fans of it. Think of Tyrone Wallace last season.

This season, Danuel House is an example of why. Signed to a two-way contract Dec. 6 (after they waived him to sign Gary Clark), when injuries hit an already thin roster, House was given a chance with the Rockets and proved to be a decent rotation player who started the last 12 games for the team, averaging 10.6 points and shooting 48.1 percent from three as a starter playing nearly 30 minutes a night.

And now he is headed back to the G-League’s Rio Grande Valley Vipers for the rest of the season. His allotment of 45 days with the Rockets is up and negotiations to convert his contract to a full-time NBA deal failed. Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle broke the story.

The Rockets failed to reach an agreement with House on Tuesday, according to a person with knowledge of the contract talks…

The Rockets could have converted House’s contract to a standard NBA deal for the rest of the season, had been offering a multiyear contract. That was in keeping with the Rockets’ practices of seeking longer contracts with players they consider developmental prospects, but House was in the unusual situation of contributing regularly before negotiating a deal.

Tim MacMahon of ESPN had the contract offer details, and you can see why House might not have wanted to take the Rockets up on that offer.

Locking House up for three seasons makes sense for the Rockets, but not for House.

It comes down to control over his destiny. House has been solid, replacement-level player for the Rockets but not necessarily worth much more than the minimum on the market. The Rockets wanted to retain his rights and offered multi-year contracts at the minimum so they could have a player they like under their control at a price they liked.

House wanted to be converted to a (minimum salary) regular contract at the end of the season because then he would have been a restricted free agent next summer and could have sought out a better contract (which the Rockets could have matched). The two sides could not agree to a deal, so House is back in the G-League and will be an unrestricted free agent next summer. (Other teams cannot claim him out of the G-League because of the contract, and House is not eligible for the playoffs because his days are used up.)

With Eric Gordon returning to the rotation in the coming days, James Ennis getting healthy, and Gary Clark on the roster, the Rockets will be fine without House. Houston also is bringing in James Nunnally.

Houston needed House when injuries hit but didn’t think he deserved the larger contract