Report: Houston Rockets Trade Ryan Anderson, De’Anthony Melton to Phoenix Suns for Brandon Knight, Marquese Chriss

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December 31, 2015: Phoenix Suns Guard Brandon Knight (3) [3043] goes up for a dunk while Oklahoma City Thunder Guard Russell Westbrook (0) [1973] and Oklahoma City Thunder Forward Serge Ibaka (9) [1965] plays defense at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, OK. (Photo by Torrey Purvey/Icon Sportswire) (Photo by Torrey Purvey/Icon Sportswire/Corbis via Getty Images)

The Houston Rockets and Phoenix Suns struck a deal late Thursday night, with Houston sending veteran sharpshooter Ryan Anderson plus De’Anthony Melton to Phoenix in exchange for Brandon Knight and Marquese Chriss. The deal was first reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter:

Houston Rockets Trade Ryan Anderson, De’Anthony Melton to Phoenix Suns for Brandon Knight, Marquese Chriss

The primary motivation for the deal from the Rockets standpoint was to rid themselves of the remaining two years and $41.7 million owed to Anderson in order to free up valuable cap room. After falling out of the Rockets rotation down the stretch last season and averaging just 8.6 minutes per game in the 2018 NBA Playoffs, it became clear that finding a trade for Anderson was a priority this off-season for Rockets GM Daryl Morey. Joining the young Suns, the 30-year-old Anderson will add leadership while also aiming to resurrect his career and re-establish himself as a threat from behind the arc.

The Rockets will add depth behind Chris Paul at the point with the addition of Knight, who is set to return after missing the entirety of 2017-18 with a torn ACL. Before the injury, Knight showed flashes of upside with the Detroit Pistons and Milwaukee Bucks, but was primarily limited to a bench role in 2016-17 playing behind Eric Bledsoe. He will now head to Houston to compete for the primary backup job to ‘CP3’ along with Rockets off-season Free Agent signing Michael Carter-Williams.

Also heading Houston’s way is a versatile power forward in Chriss, whose athleticism and raw potential have largely been left untapped through his first two full NBA seasons. Chriss was the 8th overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, but has developed at a slow pace with Phoenix to this point in his career. Still only 21 years of age, Chriss will hope that a change of scenery will help spark his development.

Melton, meanwhile, will join the Suns after being selected in the second round (46th overall) of the 2018 NBA Draft out of USC. Melton was very much considered a wild card prospect heading into the draft process after being held out all of last season due to his connection with the FBI’s college basketball probe, but showed a great deal of promise as a true freshman for the Trojans in 2016-17.

Entering his rookie season, Melton will have a chance to grasp an increased role right out the gate at the point guard spot for Phoenix. With a relatively uninspiring group vying for playing time — including Shaquille Harrison, Isaiah Canaan, and fellow rookie second-rounder Elie Okobo on the roster at the position — Melton should have a legitimate chance to carve out a substantial role, an opportunity that likely would not have afforded itself to Melton right away in Houston.

The Suns point guard of the future is the only position left for GM Ryan McDonough and Head Coach Igor Kokoskov to address, having added star big man Deandre Ayton with the number one overall pick to a talented young core that also features excellent depth and versatility on the wing with Devin Booker, Josh Jackson, and Mikal Bridges. Wojnarowski tweeted Thursday that the Suns will continue to explore their options over the course of the off-season to strengthen the point guard position heading into 2018-19.
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