LOS ANGELES — The central Celtics figure surrounding a potential Nate Robinson trade is 3-point marksman Eddie House, according to an NBA source, however his $2.8 million salary does not match with the $2.02 million that Robinson’s contract is worth, so another player would have to be involved. The two sides have been talking for nearly a day now and are close to completing the deal, according to NBA sources.
According to a source close to House, his name wasn’t mentioned heavily until late Tuesday. But House’s role is closest to what Robinson would fill in Boston and the two sides only need to figure out the remaining $800,000 (UPDATE: According to Yahoo! Sports, the other missing piece of the deal is expected to be J.R. Giddens). The Celtics are expected to throw in a second-round pick to make the trade worth while for New York.
House practiced with the Celtics tonight in Los Angeles and told reporters he expects to be traded.
“There’s a strong possibility I will be traded to New York tomorrow,” said House. “At the end of the day this is a business, and the Celtics feel they will be a better team with the guys they are trying to get.”
House said his agent called him this morning to alert him to the possibility of a trade. He said he is comfortable in the Knicks’ system, having played for Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni in Phoenix.
“Going to New York, I have two months to play some real strong basketball and get some wins with those guys,” he said.
The Celtics have been interested in Robinson for months, and the sparkplug guard has the ability to score 30 points in 20 minutes or on other nights go 2 for 15. But his potential to thrive off the Celtics bench is enticing to president Danny Ainge, who is determined to give a boost to his struggling team for a playoff run.
Robinson has motivation to play for the Celtics because he would earn $1 million if he plays for a playoff club, and that wasn’t going to happen in New York. Also, House played for D’Antoni while in Phoenix and the two have a good relationship. He would flourish in D’Antoni’s fast-paced offense and perhaps could improve his free-agent status this summer.
It was unlikely that House, who has been inconsistent as a 3-point shooter this season and is unable to guard quicker point guards, would return to Boston next season. Robinson would fill a reserve role to Rajon Rondo and could also fill in at shooting guard if Doc Rivers wants to go with a smaller lineup.
Robinson is a fearless player and 3-time dunk champion. The former University of Washington defensive back was a first-round pick by Phoenix in 2005 and was traded to the Knicks along with Quentin Richardson for Kurt Thomas and Dijon Thompson. Robinson has averaged 12.5 points in 312 career games and a career 35 percent 3-point shooter.