The Rockets have finally found a trade partner for Ryan Anderson. They have converted what seemed to be an untradeable talent into two rotation players, who can possibly give them some spot minutes in the postseason.
Houston has been wanting to unload the final two years of Anderson's $41 million contract. Anderson saw his role dwindle, especially in the playoffs, as he was unplayable in their Western Conference Finals showdown against the Golden State Warriors last year.
Traded along with Anderson was rookie De’Anthony Melton. Sure he had an encouraging summer league showing. But he probably won’t be on the floor come playoff time.
This is ultimately a gamble for Houston, which had two chances to take down the defending champs. They are taking on a guard in Brandon Knight who miss all of last season, and a raw athletic big in Marquese Chriss, who never really lived up to expectations for the Suns.
Brandon Knight, who still has around $30 million due for the next two seasons, has not sniffed an NBA court after tearing his ACL in the summer of 2017. Even prior to the injury, he had been buried in the Suns bench as the team looked to give their younger prospects more burn.
His situation now gives him the opportunity to play behind Chris Paul, James Harden, and even Eric Gordon, which should give him time to ease back into the game and find his rhythm. Moreover, if Knight does get back to form, he can be Chris Paul insurance – not significant though, but insurance nonetheless. Maybe he can rejuvenate his career with the Rockets, something Gordon was able to find with them.
Marquese Chriss, who averaged an underwhelming 8.5 points and 4.1 rebounds in his first two years with the Suns, is a project. Obviously that project failed for the Suns as they have ultimately given up on him. Chriss, however, still has tons of upside.
He is a freak athlete who can jump out of the gym, but is completely raw. He can also make the occasional three, though not at a very good clip at just 31% for his career.
Consistency has been the problem for Chriss, as he is also just a 44% converter from the field – not very good for a big man. Moreover, problems regarding his reportedly bad attitude on and off the court occasionally surfaced throughout his tenure with Phoenix.
Perhaps playing behind Clint Capella can give him the development he needs. Locker room leaders Chris Paul and PJ Tucker can also help get his head straight. If he finds his way in Houston, the Rockets become even more of a threat. He has the attributes to be the typical D'Antoni big – athletic, high-flying, and rim-running.
This was a pretty solid get for the Rockets. Any trade for Anderson's atrocious contract was supposed to be a salary dump. Instead, they were able to get something to try out of it.