Rockets Trade Anderson, Melton To Suns For Knight, Chriss

AUGUST 31: The trade is official, the Rockets and Suns announced in separate statements.

AUGUST 30: The Rockets and Suns have agreed to a trade, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter). According to Wojnarowski, Phoenix will acquire Ryan Anderson and De’Anthony Melton from Houston in exchange for Brandon Knight and Marquese Chriss.

Anderson has been on the trade block in Houston for over a year, with his expensive long-term contract having stood in the way of a deal until now. While the Rockets will finally shed the two years and $41.69MM remaining on Anderson’s deal, they’ll take back another pricey multiyear contract — Knight is owed $30.28MM over the next two seasons.

Chriss will earn $3.21MM in 2018/19 and has a team option worth just over $4MM for 2019/20. The Rockets will have to make a decision on that option by October 31 of this year. As for Melton, he has yet to sign his first NBA contract, so Houston is technically trading his draft rights to Phoenix. The Suns will have the opportunity to lock him up once the trade is official.

While the in-the-tax Rockets will save some money as a result of the swap, the on-court implications are even more interesting than the financial ones. Anderson’s impressive three-point range allowed Houston to stretch the floor on offense, but his defensive shortcoming made him unplayable in certain matchups — he didn’t see much action in the Western Conference Finals against the Warriors last season, for instance.

In place of Anderson and Melton, the Rockets will be receiving two players with intriguing upside. Knight missed the entire 2017/18 season with an ACL tear, but isn’t far removed from averaging 19.6 PPG and 5.1 APG in 52 games for the Suns in 2015/16. Assuming he’s back to full health, Knight could provide Houston with scoring and play-making off the bench behind Chris Paul and James Harden.

Chriss, meanwhile, has yet to develop into the sort of difference-making big man the Suns hoped for when they drafted him eighth overall in 2016. However, he’s still just 21 years old and has shown flashes of potential during his first two NBA seasons. It’s not clear how he’ll fit into the Rockets’ plans.

The Suns, apparently not ready to bet on Chriss taking significant steps forward, will replace him in the frontcourt with Anderson, a veteran stretch four capable of playing alongside No. 1 pick Deandre Ayton. Phoenix will also add Melton, a 2018 second-round pick who had an impressive Summer League showing for the Rockets, filling the box score with 16.4 PPG, 7.2 RPG, 4.0 APG, and 3.0 SPG in five games in Las Vegas.

The deal will leave the Suns lacking in experience and depth at point guard. Second-rounders Melton and Elie Okobo could see minutes immediately, with Shaquille Harrison and Isaiah Canaan also in the mix.

It will be interesting to see whether Phoenix has another move up its sleeve to fortify that point guard position or if the club simply plans to lean more heavily on Devin Booker as its primary play-maker. In his full report on the trade, Wojnarowski notes that the Suns may envision a larger role for Harrison.

The Rockets will create a modest traded player exception worth about $2.58MM in the deal.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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44 thoughts on “Rockets Trade Anderson, Melton To Suns For Knight, Chriss

    • azcrook

      They couldn’t carry Bob Myers of the Warriors jock strap as far as the best GM

        • Agreed. Myers biggest trade was the one he didn’t make (Thompson for Love). Outside of that he hasn’t made any real game-changing trades. He hasn’t had to expertly manage the cap by dumping an overpriced veteran (like Anderson) or find a creative way to fit in a high-caliber player via trade. No Durant doesn’t count to that last one since Harrison Barnes was a free agent anyway and the cap was jumping (and Durant was a FA too).

          • Dodgethis

            Except that was all planned out by Myers. Every other team benefited from the cap increase yet instead chose to throw gobs of money at sub par players. Try again hater.

      • madmanTX

        Nobody knows who Myers is since he doesn’t do anything but collect a paycheck.

  1. D-NBA

    Well Morey got himself an athletic prospect who’ll be able to defend the 3-4-5 in Chriss. Phenomenal trade for the Rockets.

      • natsfan3437

        The o my thing they might have gained by him is a 4 who will stretch the floor at a much lower cost. Besides that he doesn’t offer much.

  2. greg1

    Let’s not call Morey a genius for this deal, he took on a slightly worse contract and a disappointing former first round pick. Houston still won this deal, but it’s not a landslide in their favour.

    Factor in all of the other moves, and Houston is a slight loser in this offseason.

    • It’s not just this deal though. He just always turns nothing into something. Most teams would have given up assets to move Anderson. I’m not a Houston fan by any measure. But damn, I wish I had this guy to run my team.

    • Philly Fan

      It is a landslide in Houston’s favour. While Chriss might’ve been a slight disappointment in Phoenix, he’s still young, has potential, and is on a cheap contract. At worst, Knight is just as productive as Anderson. Plus the fact that Houston saved money and didn’t give up any assets make this a clear win for them. The Suns GM is incompetent

      • imindless

        Knight is a high volume shooter which houton already has gordon, paul, harden. Not to mention he is coming off serious injury and is a career .415 shooter. Anderson is better from on the floor and deep. Not sure how you could say houston won this. Knight is a bum and chriss is nothing more than a body at best.

    • How is Knight’s deal worse than Anderson’s? Anderson is owed an extra $11m and is an extremely one dimensional offensive big who is a liability on defense (not an ideal defender against post-up bigs but not quick enough to defend smaller players or more athletic bigs from the perimeter). Knight, if healthy, at least gives the Rockets another guard off the bench for Paul or Harden. He’s not a great defender but they don’t really need him to be.

  3. Phoenix has Ekebe Obo and DeAnthony Melton as their point guards, both rookies. Either they’ll have to move Devin Booker to the point or acquire another one.

    • bravesfan88

      Strongly believe the Suns will lean heavily on Booker to run their offense. With that being said, I honestry won’t be suprised, if by mid-season, it is Melton and Booker in the Sun’s backcourt.

      People are hugely overlooking Melton’s skills and how good of a player he is and can eventually become. Melton will be excellent paired next to Booker, but he will have to become more efficient without the ball primarily in his hands…

      Not to mention, Phoenix needs an Anderson to pair with Ayton and Bender…He’s the perfect compliment to both of these players, for a few different reasons..So, honestly, I’m not entirely sold on it being a terrible deal for the Suns, or even really a bad deal for that matter..Melton is going to suprise alot of Rocket’s and Sun’s fans…It’s only a matter of time..

    • hiflew

      Canaan looked pretty good until he got hurt last season. Don’t sleep on him as the starting PG.

    • Phoenix must be planning on making offers to Goran Dragic, Eric Bledsoe(haha), Malcom Brogdan, Ricky Rubio, Jeff Teague, or Terry Rozier next summer. It doesn’t look like there will be any Dennis Smith’s or Colin Sexton’s in the first 7 picks of the draft. Phoenix will probably have to rotate Canaan, Harrison, and Melton for now.
      Eric Gordon is at $17MM. Brandon Knight is at $25MM (?). CP3 and James Harden are up there (although Harden will need more money if he keeps throwing away people’s cell phones in bar fights). I don’t see Houston keeping that much money in the backcourt.

      • Make that Brandon Knight making $15MM. That’s still too much for a guard backing up CP3. Scroeder backing up Russell Westbrook is too much too unless they play together. Phoenix Valley of the Suns, the team website, says this might be enough to get the Suns GM fired. They don ‘t even see Anderson or Melton in the rotation.

        • Dodgethis

          How do you figure? Paul can’t stay healthy. They need a quality back up. While knight is no Paul, he s exactly what’s needed.

    • hiflew

      Well they had to move either him or Bender because there is no way they would exercise both of their options. It was either that or lose one or both for nothing after the season.

    • Maybe but Chriss has been brutal. Doesn’t give much defensively and offensively he’s an athletic rim runner. He’s all athleticism with not much actual talent right now. With Ayton there, Chriss was the obvious odd-man out in Phoenix.

  4. clubberlang

    Basically a swap of bad contracts. Anderson didn’t fit in Houston, even more now that Melo is in the mix. Knight can pair with Gordon and be a real nice piece off the bench.

  5. hopper15

    This is a big win for Houston dumping the 40 mil left on Ryan Anderson’s contract without having to surrender any first round picks.

    Makes no sense for Phoenix.

    • Dodgethis

      Except they need a big/stretch 4 who can actually nail some shots. Their other bigs aren’t shooters, and they are still trying to develop guys. While it might not be ideal for this year, it’s what’s needed to help ayton develop.

  6. Fearthebeard

    Hard to know what to make of this to be honest.

    Knights shown promise and him and Gordon could be a real force off the bench.

    That said I’d rather Bazemore lol

  7. Totally agree with Philly Fan. Man this is almost a robbery from Houston! What on earth was the Phoenix FO thinking, that really sucks for them, I think they are already tanking, put them back in their rebuilt a year or two with that trade.

  8. madmanTX

    Good job by Morey to get rid of that bad contract for a less expensive one with a player who can be of more help off the bench. Warriors fans gonna talk smack because they’re afraid now.

  9. Spike4christ

    This is great for Houston both players they have can help. Both can also be moved at deadline if they show what they are capable of. Why would a rebuilding team need Anderson. Morey is a great GM.

  10. victorg

    from what I understand Knight is a real turd BUT coming to a team with Tucker and Paul may get him in line…

  11. x%sure

    Suns win. They get the best prospect, Melton, plus Canaan was going to take over PG anyway just like last year. Anderson can be afforded by PHX and gives Ayton room to work.
    Recognition by PHX of the importance of Ayton. It’s inevitable of course but good to get started on it.

    • hill

      It’s unthinkable the Suns didn’t get a 1st Round pick attached to Anderson.

      Typical asset destruction by a moronic franchise.

      • SoCalBrave

        I disagree, Knight’s contract is just as bad as Anderson, except Anderson is actually playable and a starter. Chriss may develop to be a serviceable forward, but he wasn’t gonna develop playing in Phoenix next to Ayton, although he will play even less in Houston. The only way I see this working for Houston is if Knight returns to form in a back up role. But Phoenix must have not liked what they saw from him in practices or in the locker room to trade him now, instead of waiting to see if he could rebuild his trade value.

        • x%sure

          Agree. There is little reason to have confidence in Knight. But if he does return to form then HOU made out too.

          This trade is what trades should be, mediocre players getting a better chance & teams better positioned.

          Anderson is not a bad player, he will be a help to Ayton, while Chriss has been superceded and it’s best not to have him around even more mopey than normal.

    • Freddy H

      Why because they traded a worse player (Knight) for a better player (Anderson) whos not bad just overpaid.

  12. formerlyz

    I feel like Melton and Harrison are similar. Both have some Marcus Smart in them. I’m surprised Houston moved him, even though they got rid of Anderson. I feel like Anderson and Melton fit them better than Knight.

  13. D$!LLKU$H-og

    I was kinda shocked when I didn’t see a pick going to PHX. They must really like Melton. I did read somewhere he was 23rd in the class in production/efficiency, but slipped to the 2nd round. I think RA will help both Ayton and Bender develop, but man $41 mil? I would’ve shipped them Knight and Arthur. I think Chriss was worth some kind of pick even a 2nd.

    As for HOU I think it was a great move. Add a solid backup PG who will be straightened out real quick by CP3. And add a former lottery pick who hasn’t developed yet, more so because he put on a lot of weight in his 2nd season for some reason and it took away from his athleticism which he showed off his rookie year. He can be a backup for Capela, as he is a good rim runner and pick setter, just needs to work on defense.

  14. x%sure

    Melton only has to fix his 3pt shooting, he has everything else. Draws contact, 6-8 wingspan, fast, sees, steals. Summer league, looked great, had a cold game and a hot game from 3… that works for a backup at least, for now.

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