The Houston Rockets have long wanted to move on from the Ryan Anderson contract they signed back in the balloon payment summer of 2018. Anderson signed a four-year, $80 million deal with Houston and after one season he was the subject of potential trade rumors. The sharpshooting big man fit with the Rockets offensively, spotting up for three’s from James Harden and company but his defensive liability, partciularly on the pick-and-roll, made him expendable for Houston. The only problem was, who would take on that much money for a player of Anderson’s caliber? There were some suitors but no one bit for a long time and Houston even reportedly considered a buyout.
The rebuilding Phoenix Suns have a bad contract of their own in guard Brandon Knight, courtesy of the injury bug. The Suns decided to ship out Knight and the 8th pick of the 2016 draft, Marquese Chriss, to Houston for Anderson and their promising second round selection, De’Anthony Melton out of USC.
Houston has traded Ryan Anderson and De'Anthony Melton to Phoenix for Marquese Chriss and Brandon Knight, league source tells ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) August 31, 2018
The deal for Houston allows them to clear up a just little more money on their books. Anderson was slated to make $40 million over the next two seasons alone while Knight and Chriss are on the books for approximately $33 million. Might not be the biggest difference on paper but it should change up their potential luxury tax bill. They can also make a choice to not carry on Chriss after this season.
Houston acquires a player in Knight who had some solid numbers before injuries sidelined him for the better part of the last three seasons. Since acquiring him in 2015, Knight has posted per game averages of 15 points, 3.8 assists and 2.9 rebounds but he’s played in 117 of 274 games in his Suns career including missing the entire 2017-18 season. Chriss has also shown some promise as an athletic, rim-running big man who has obviously learned from the book of Tyson Chandler early on in his young career. His motor and defense have come into questions at times but he still show some promise and could be a potential replacement for Montrezl Harrell as a backup big man who can do some things around the rim. The Rockets taking a chance on two players who might still have something to offer still in their 20’s.
Phoenix will get a veteran in Ryan Anderson who, if anything else, can fill a role Jared Dudley had during his recent stint with the Suns. A great veteran who can help the younger guys and come in to games to play some solid minutes off the bench. The expectations Anderson has in Phoenix are going to be far different than what he had in Houston. Melton being traded is a nice get for the Suns, especially after trading away a young prospect in Chriss who they obviously gave up on following the 2018 NBA Draft. Melton is viewed to be a solid athletic, defensive guard with a ton of potential.