Two years ago, Eddie House was getting a ring. Now he's getting even.
House spent two seasons and part of a third with the Celtics, his eighth NBA team, and he was a big part of the playoff run in 2008 that culminated in Boston's 17th banner. But when the C's cut him loose at the trading deadline in 2010, shipping him to the Knicks for Nate Robinson to shake up their second unit, it might have served to light a fire under the 10-year veteran.
It's been six months, but don't think House has forgotten the Celtics team that spurned him last season.
"That stung a little bit," House said this weekend to the Arizona Republic. "When you feel like you're a main part of what the team is doing and you're on a mission, to get the rug pulled out from under you and get sent to a team that has no shot ? That kind of hurt."
House has been passed around more than an '84 Volvo at a used car lot. He's been to Miami, to L.A., to Charlotte, to Milwaukee, to Sacramento, to Phoenix, to New Jersey and finally to Boston. But the Celtics were the one franchise that really helped him feel at home — and in the end, leaving them was the one trade that really left a bad taste in his mouth.
After being traded, waived, and picked up off the scrap heap so many times, it's a wonder he still has any feelings left to be hurt. Maybe the Celtics got to his last one.
But now he talks like he's got a new lease on life.
"Most of the time, I'm just happy to be living," House said. "I'm doing something I love to do and I get paid for doing it. There's nothing for me to be upset about when I go to play basketball. I'm living my dream. I'm going to be ready to play when my number's called, and a guy who never caused any problems in the locker room."
House may already have a ring, courtesy of his old friends in Boston, but he thinks he has an opportunity now to be a part of something even better.
House has taken his journeyman story and his deadly outside shot to South Beach, and he'll have a shot at another title alongside Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh. If stumbling into Doc Rivers' locker room in Boston was a blessing, there's no telling what this could be.
"I compare it to the year I went to Boston when the Big Three got together in 2007," House said. "But this is going to be even bigger. This is going to be Boston on steroids."
House signed a deal with the Miami Heat last month for two years and $2.8 million. Wade, James, Bosh, Mike Miller and Udonis Haslem have all signed massive long-term contracts to build the foundation for architect Pat Riley; House is just going to be another piece of the supporting cast.
If they win, he gets another ring; if they lose, he gets none of the blame. It's a win-win situation for a guy like House, who's been a role player in the NBA for a decade.
"I'm extremely excited about this opportunity," House said. "In Boston, everybody was after us every single night. We were playing hard-fought games every night. This is going to be even crazier. We're anointed champs from the beginning, and we're not the champions."
The current champions in the Eastern Conference are none other than the Celtics, and dethroning them will be Miami's goal from day one — literally. On Oct. 26, the two East powers will collide on the TD Garden floor.
Naturally, the seed has already been planted for a rivalry between two East powers. Having Eddie House on the floor out for blood will only make it better.