Ryan Anderson will be a trade candidate once again this offseason, according to Kelly Iko of Rockets Wire, who hears from two sources with knowledge of the Rockets’ thinking that GM Daryl Morey is “intent on moving” Anderson. One source told Iko that the club could explore a buyout if no viable trade options arise.
Anderson, 30, signed a four-year, $80MM contract with the Rockets as a free agent in 2016. In two seasons with the Rockets, Anderson has delivered the kind of outside shooting the club sought from him, averaging 2.4 3PG with a .396 3PT%. However, the floor spacing and three-pointers provided by the veteran forward have been offset by his struggles on the defensive end of the floor.
The Rockets’ defensive rating with Anderson on the court in 2017/18 was approximately five points worse than the team’s rating when he sat. The former Pelican even fell out of Houston’s rotation during the postseason last month, playing less than 29 minutes over the course of the Rockets’ seven-game series against Golden State.
Anderson has been on the trade block in the past and the Rockets have struggled to find a taker. For instance, his inclusion in a potential package was a sticking point when Houston and New York discussed a Carmelo Anthony trade last summer. The Rockets will likely have to include at least two future first-round picks in order to incentivize a team to take on Anderson’s contract, and even that might not do the trick.
Still, finding a way to reduce their commitment to Anderson figures to be a top priority this offseason as the Rockets look to re-sign Chris Paul and Clint Capela. New deals for those key free agents would send team salary skyrocketing over the tax line, so moving on from Anderson wouldn’t just get Houston out from under his salary — it would also greatly reduce the team’s projected tax bill.