Tenet #2: The Solution
The Houston Rockets were in cap hell with Ryno’s contract on the books and he had to be taken off of them. If it’s one thing that Morey likes with his assets is that he wants to have options. Having Anderson on this roster limits those options and now things have freed up with bringing Knight and Chriss into the fold.
But the team no longer has to worry about the cap hell they were in and they’ve packaged 2018 second-rounder De’Anthony Melton in the deal. He has been a rising star this off season, having a terrific Summer League and his versatility on both ends of the floor will suit the Suns quite well.
But in the exchange, the Houston Rockets get Brandon Knight — who is a talented guard that will make an impact immediately — and Marquese Chriss, a relatively unproven big man that still has a lot of room for development on his end.
Knight’s injury woes over the past few seasons concern me but with Houston Rockets trainer Keith Jones being the best in the business, my confidence is rising that Knight will be a reliable contributor to this team during his tenure here, however long that may be.
Chriss, taken with the 8th pick in 2016 NBA Draft, has been less than stellar since his debut. He averaged 7.7 points and 5.5 rebounds with a shooting line of .423/.295/.608 through 72 games — 49 starts — in 2017-18.
With guy that had so much expectations leading up to his professional career, the Suns decided they wanted to rid themselves of the situation that they were mired in. Matt Brase, a rising star in the Houston Rockets organization and the head coach of the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, will likely be spending some extensive time with Chriss along with Hakeem Olajuwon and the rest of Mike D’Antoni‘s staff.
There’s potential oozing out of Chriss and the Houston Rockets could be the ultimate beneficiary if they can turn him into something that all of us can behold.
Knight will earn $14.6M this season and $15.6M the next while Chriss is still on an extremely cap-friendly rookie deal, paying him $3.2M this season and $4.1M the next.
The team will see approximate savings of $2.6 million and $1.7 million over the next two seasons respectively in acquiring Knight/Chriss.
Morey has basically split the Rox’s financial commitment to Ryno over two players that can make more of an imprint on this team, decreasing risk while increasing the elasticity of the team’s balance sheet.
Woj also makes mention of the Suns’ having a unique kicker in the deal where Anderson agreed to partially guarantee his final $21 million of the contract next season, dropping the amount down to $15.6 million, which is the equivalent of Knight’s contract. The Suns can still guarantee the entire $21 million or waive him if it doesn’t work out.
With the massive amount of cap space the Suns will continue to have over time, it wouldn’t make much sense to use the stretch provision on his $15.6M but to just pay him out in one large chunk. That way, his salary is quickly off the books. They can easily absorb that amount for one season and they get the guy they really wanted in Melton.