TRADE ALERT: Rockets trade Ryan Anderson to Phoenix for Marquese Chriss and Brandon Knight

 

Chalk this up as news I did NOT expect to see… The Rockets have been shopping Anderson since last offseason in hopes of shedding his massive 18mil per year salary that does not expire for another two seasons. We knew that in order to move him the Rockets would have to sweeten the deal, likely with a 1st round pick. However, Daryl Morey worked his magic once again and in stead sent recent 2nd round draft pick De’Anthony Melton along with Anderson. The return is interesting to say the least. The Suns are sending back combo Guard Brandon Knight (and the two year/30mil left on his contract) and athletic forward Marquese Chriss. Initially, it’s hard to see where either guy fits in the rotation. Brandon Knight could be a solid backup to Chris Paul and will likely be used primarily to decrease the load on Paul in the regular season. However, it’s difficult to see him taking meaningful back court minutes away from Eric Gordon, Paul, or (obviously) James Harden. Chriss on the other hand could very well play a large role under Mike D’Antoni, but I wonder where and how he will be used. He’s not a shooter, so on the surface he seems like a perfect fit as Clint Capela’s backup. Nene is old and was not particular good last season, so there could be a need there. However, the Rockets did sign 2017 draft pick Isiaih Hartenstein earlier in the offseason. Hartenstein is a skilled big man that can stretch the floor pretty well. The other option would be starting Chriss at the 4 and sliding PJ Tucker back to Small Forward. This would obviously mean Melo comes off the bench, and it’s still unclear whether or not he’s okay with that role. But the defensive potential with Chriss and Tucker at the forward spots is pretty enticing.

Whether or not either new addition plays a major role in the upcoming season, Daryl Morey was able to shed salary and add two potential rotation players without giving up a draft pick. That’s impressive. Big picture though, the Rockets were already title contenders. While this move does improve the roster, I don’t think it moves the needle much for them. When you have a roster that’s good enough to win a championship, the next step is becoming prohibitive favorites. I do not see this move making the Rockets that. What it does is add balance to an already championship quality roster.

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