The Houston Rockets reportedly agreed to trade power forward Ryan Anderson and rookie De'Anthony Melton to the Phoenix Suns on Thursday in exchange for point guard Brandon Knight and 2016 lottery pick Marquese Chriss, according to ESPN.com's Adrian Wojnarowski.
By trading Anderson, the Rockets shed the final two years and $41.7 million remaining on his deal months after he became a non-factor in their postseason rotation. On Friday, Wojnarowski noted Anderson would be the Suns' starting power forward, and that Phoenix was still in the market for a starting point guard.
Wojnarowski noted the Rockets re-worked the guaranteed salary on Anderson's contract to match Brandon Knight's salary.
During the regular season, Anderson averaged just 9.3 points—a mark that was largely a result of his attempting 7.3 shots per game—his fewest since 2010-11. Anderson shot 43.1 percent from the field and 38.6 percent from three-point range, and he remained a solid rebounder, averaging 5.0 boards.
Production aside, Anderson's contract tends to dominate any conversation about his contributions. He benefited from the salary-cap spike in summer 2016, and his deal looks unwieldy in retrospect given his singular offensive skill set and lackluster defensive prowess.
Last season, the Rockets allowed 106.5 points per 100 possessions with Anderson on the floor. When he sat, that figure dipped to 101.6, according to NBA.com.
Ultimately, Anderson likely isn't the reason Phoenix made the deal.
The Suns are already grooming a younger version of Anderson, 30, in 20-year-old Dragan Bender, and it's hard to envision they'd strip developmental minutes from players who required major draft capital investments at this stage in their rebuild.
Instead, Anderson was likely the cost of doing business as the Suns moved to add another promising piece in Melton to a rookie class that already featured No. 1 overall pick Deandre Ayton, swingman Mikal Bridges and guard Elie Okobo.
For the Rockets, Knight should provide additional playmaking reinforcements behind Chris Paul, James Harden and Eric Gordon—assuming he's healthy. The 26-year-old missed all of last season with a torn ACL, and he hasn't appeared in more than 60 games since the 2014-15 campaign.
Still, he's a quality depth chip who averaged 15.2 points, 4.3 assists and 3.3 rebounds while draining 35.7 percent of his threes over his first six NBA seasons.
Now, paying a fourth guard $30.2 million over the next two seasons won't be an easy pill to swallow. But given the commitment Houston previously made to Anderson, Knight's deal is plenty palatable.
Chriss, meanwhile, figures to receive a crash course in effective screening and rolling from center Clint Capela following a pair of underwhelming campaigns in the desert.
Still just 21 years old, Chriss owns a $4 million club option for the 2019-20 season and will be eligible for restricted free agency in the summer of 2020.