Rockets/Suns Trade Notes: Grades, Knight, Melton

The Rockets and Suns agreed to an unusual trade late on Thursday night, with Houston poised to send Ryan Anderson and De’Anthony Melton to Phoenix in exchange for Brandon Knight and Marquese Chriss. Both teams are essentially acquiring a potentially useful veteran on an expensive multiyear contract, plus a young prospect with some upside. That kind of straight two-for-two swap without any draft picks or other assets included is pretty rare, particularly between a title contender and a lottery team.

In an Insider-only piece at, Kevin Pelton tries to make sense of the deal for both clubs, and has an easier time doing so for the Rockets, assigning them a grade of B+ for shedding Anderson’s contract and acquiring a pair of intriguing players. Pelton isn’t as bullish on the trade for the Suns, who get a C- grade from the ESPN scribe.

While the Suns may view the deal as an opportunity to acquire a starting power forward and a promising young prospect in exchange for two players who weren’t in their plans, they probably could’ve driven a harder bargain with the in-the-tax Rockets, says Pelton.

Here’s more on the Rockets/Suns trade:

  • If the Rockets were to finalize the trade and waive Knight today, the team could greatly reduce its projected tax bill for 2018/19. However, ESPN’s Zach Lowe (Twitter link) hears that Houston has no plans to waive-and-stretch Knight.
  • Lowe’s other observations on the deal: The Suns paid a high cost to acquire Melton, but people around the NBA are “super-high” on him (Twitter link). The Rockets, who haven’t used their first-round pick for a few years, did well to avoid including their 2019 first-rounder in an Anderson deal, says Lowe (Twitter link). That pick could now be available for another trade at the deadline if necessary.
  • As ESPN’s Bobby Marks notes (via Twitter), it will be interesting to see what kind of contract Melton signs with the Suns, who are now over the cap. Without cap room, they’re limited to a two-year offer. While Phoenix could potentially open up cap space by buying out Darrell Arthur, he’s unlikely to give up much salary without lining up another landing spot, per Marks. Waiving and stretching Arthur today would also work, but adding an annual $2.5MM charge to their cap for two additional years may not be worth gaining the ability to give Melton an extra year or two.
  • In the view of Greg Moore of The Arizona Republic (Twitter link), the Suns made the trade with Igor Kokoskov‘s up-tempo, three-pointer-heavy offense in mind. Kokoskov’s system calls for a stretch four like Anderson, and Melton’s play-making ability figures to be a good fit too.
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11 thoughts on “Rockets/Suns Trade Notes: Grades, Knight, Melton

    • mcmillankmm

      If their only goal was to dump Anderson without surrendering a pick, then yes. But Knight is always hurt. The $6 million a year savings may be worth it though.

      • Steven St Croix

        Eric Gordon was always hurt before Houston signed him. That seems to be working out.

  1. I’m amazed at how Ryan McDonough still has a job. He seems to get fleeced in trades and hasn’t drafted all that well. He lucked into Devin Booker (who fell because teams were worried about his athleticism) and DeAndre Ayton. His other draft picks have been busts so far or failed to live up to expectations. He bungled the three point guard situation they had with Dragic, Thomas, and Bledsoe (traded the best of the bunch at the time in Dragic, completely undersold on Thomas, and kept Bledsoe for too long and ended up getting a less than optimal return).

    • hiflew

      Honestly, you can’t even say Ayton is not a bust yet. He hasn’t done anything yet. At the very least you can’t say he has lived up to expectations yet.

  2. Suns got a stretch 4 who can shoot the 3 as well as anyone for chriss who is awful and knight who has been hurt so I’d say both teams are happy. Not sure who the Suns are going to run at the point guard outside of booker though.. Suns are a rondo type away from being pretty good though

  3. SoCalBrave

    now that Anderson has agreed to lower his salary it makes a little more sense for the Suns. But I can only assume that the Suns did not like what they saw from Knight either in practices or in the locker room and decided to cut their losses now before it became impossible later. Because you would think that Knight would thrive again playing alongside Booker since he would get more chances to go 1 on 1 vs smaller point guards.

    • x%sure

      His salary was only lowered in the case of getting waived… but the Suns probably will not. He’s not bad. Rockets are more likely to dump Knight.

      Most trades are won by the team getting the best player– Melton, Suns.

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