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Houston Rockets: How much does Danuel House deserve? 

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Houston Rockets v Brooklyn Nets / Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
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The Houston Rockets have had a tremendous amount of roster turnover the past two seasons. The only players on the Rockets remaining from the 2018-19 season are Eric Gordon and Danuel House

While Gordon is under contract for the next three seasons, House is entering the final year of his deal. The Rockets and House need to determine whether they should continue their relationship or look to move on. 

According to a report from The Athletic’s Kelly Iko, both parties are interested in getting an extension done. However, the Rockets made it known that the price has to be right. So the question is, how much does Danuel House deserve in an extension?

Danuel House a Houston Rockets success story

The fact that Danuel House and the Rockets have engaged in extension talks is a success story all on its own. House, a four-year college player, went undrafted in 2016 and signed with the Washington Wizards. He then spent most of the 2016-17 season in the G-League and played a total of one minute in the NBA before being waived. House was then signed and waived by the Houston Rockets, Phoenix Suns, and the Golden State Warriors between October of 2017 to October of 2018. 

The vast majority of undrafted four-year college players who spend the first two years of their career getting waived never make a dent in the NBA and end up a household name in a Turkish village. House looked destined for a similar fate until he got one more chance with his hometown Houston Rockets. 

House made good on his second chance with the Rockets and became a valuable 3-and-D player. His solid perimeter defense and 3-point shooting earned him a three-year, $11.15 million contract in the summer of 2019. 

What’s a fair deal for Danuel House and the Houston Rockets?

To get an idea of where to start with a Danuel House extension, we need to look at the deals that players of a similar quality landed this offseason. House had a down season in 2020-21 with a -3.1 box plus/minus, but his three-season average of -1.3 box plus/minus is a better indicator of his true talent level. 

This offseason, seven free agents who posted a box plus/minus between -1.1 and -1.5 signed contracts. The group consisted of Josh Hart, Robin Lopez, Duncan Robinson, Dennis Schroder, Khem Birch, Bryn Forbes, and Carmelo Anthony. On average, landed deals that were 2.3 years in length for a total of three $23.7 million. 

Duncan Robinson’s five-year, $89.9 million deal is a massive outlier and when his deal is removed, the average length drops to 1.8 years for a total of $12.7 million. According to Box Plus/Minus, House is approximately a $6.9 million a season player. 

Value over a replacement player, or VORP, uses box plus/minus and game time to calculate how many wins a player adds. House has produced 0.7 VORP the past three seasons and has averaged 0.3 VORP per 66 games over that timeframe. 

While that may not seem like much, one VORP is equal to about 2.7 wins. In essence, Danuel House adds close to a win a season. Five free agents who posted a 0.3 VORP signed this offseason, Robin Lopez, Khem Birch, Alex Len, Talen Horton-Tucker, and Bryn Forbes, and signed for an average of 2.2 years for a total of $14 million. 

If House were a free agent, he’d likely be looking at a contract in the vicinity of two-years and $14 million. However, because House is coming off a poor season, $7 million a season looks like the ceiling for an extension. 

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The Rockets should offer House a two or three-year extension with an average annual value of around $5 million a season. House’s agent should counter with a $7 million a season deal. They’ll split the difference. The Rockets and House should extend their relationship with a two-year, $12 million contract. 

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