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June 30, 2022

Sixers signing Danuel House Jr. to two-year deal

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Danuel-House-Jr-Sixers-James-Harden-Rockets-UST Troy Taormina/USA Today Sports

Danuel House Jr. and James Harden together during their shared time in Houston.

The Sixers are signing Danuel House Jr. to a two-year deal, a source confirmed to PhillyVoice on Thursday evening.

House will be signed using the team's bi-annual exception, according to a source familiar with the situation. He will have a player option on the second year of the contract.

The best run of House's career, naturally, came while playing for the Houston Rockets while James Harden and Daryl Morey were still with the franchise. In the two years House spent with Harden in Houston, he posted some of his best shooting numbers as a pro, hitting 41.6 percent of his threes in 2018-19 and 36.3 percent of his threes in 2019-20, the season that ended with the NBA shacked up in the bubble. To get the most out of House, the Sixers simply have to hope that the blueprint from that 2018-19 season holds up several years later. House shot 39 percent on corner threes that season, joining Rockets teammates Gerald Green and P.J. Tucker as players who made an offensive living waiting for Harden to create out of pick-and-rolls. 

(Fun fact: P.J. Tucker led the NBA in corner threes that season, the only player to make 100-plus of them during the regular season. Not bringing this up for any particular reason.)

There will be jokes about Morey simply trying to reunite the old Rockets teams, and while there's some merit to the barbs, Houston is not the only place where House has earned solid reviews. The Harden-less years have been relatively uneventful for House, the veteran wing playing in parts of the last two seasons for the Rockets, Knicks and Jazz. His stint to end the 2021-22 season in Utah was fairly comfortably the best run during that time, with House appearing in 25 games and all six Jazz playoff games last season. House's three-point shooting took a dive in the playoffs, but up to that point he had been a sturdy, accurate shooter for the Jazz as they came down the stretch, on top of being a switchable, reliable defender on the other end of the floor. At many points down the stretch, House was a better and more reliable role player than Royce O'Neale, who the Jazz agreed to trade to Brooklyn on Thursday for a first-round pick.

The praise House earned in Utah did not go unnoticed in Philadelphia, and they did not go unnoticed by Doc Rivers specifically. As the Sixers put their heads together ahead of free agency to put together a stronger roster for next season, Rivers was impressed with what he heard and learned about House from some of the staffers on Utah's outgoing coaching staff, who noted that he had been one of their most consistent players down the stretch of the season. Rivers spoke to House at the start of free agency, a source familiar with the situation told PhillyVoice, and the two came away feeling good about where he fits into the picture and what he brings at this part of his career.

There were concerns about House's maturity earlier in his NBA career. If you have heard House's name without paying close attention to the league over the last half-decade, it's likely because of that stint in the bubble. House was famously kicked out of the NBA's Disney World bubble for a violation of health and safety protocols during Houston's second-round series against the Lakers, the league handing down a harsher punishment than initially expected. In a statement released at the time, the NBA revealed that House had an unauthorized guest in his hotel room and would be unable to participate in games for the rest of the season.

Philadelphia's brain trust believes that House has matured in the time since that incident, and that his mentality at 29 years old is one of a player committed to being whatever the team needs on a given night. Not only that, House fits into Philadelphia's broader philosophical push heading into this offseason: they believe they are in need of players who can bring something to the table on both ends of the floor, "16 game players" to borrow from NBA lexicon. They have seen rotation players fall out of favor quickly when teams can exploit them on one end of the floor or another, and believe that House should be able to hold up when it matters. He won't offer much self-creation, but he's a willing and (mostly) able shooter who has good size and above-average athleticism on the wing, giving them flexibility with lineups.

Between the versatility of De'Anthony Melton, House giving them a boost on the wing, and some other moves that may end up coming to fruition, the Sixers are on a quest to be a tougher, more bulletproof team for when the games slow down in the playoffs. House is part of that push. 

This story is developing.


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