The Houston Rockets acquired Brandon Knight and Marquese Chriss from the Suns for Ryan Anderson and De’Anthony Melton but, there could be more coming.
From the get-go, let me set this straight, I love this trade for the Houston Rockets. Sure, losing De’Anthony Melton hurts a little bit after he flashed two-way potential in the summer league but, the kid hadn’t played organized basketball in over a year prior to that.
Regardless, major props need to be given to Daryl Morey for moving an unmovable contract. Ryan Anderson‘s $40+ million he had left over these past two years is the definition of an albatross contract. But, somehow, he pulled it off and Ryan Anderson is no longer on the team.
The return of Brandon Knight and Marquese Chriss isn’t a huge return but, it has upside nonetheless. Knight gives the Houston Rockets another bonafide ball-handler behind James Harden and Chris Paul and he even could team up with Eric Gordon for a true second team unit.
Chriss is probably what Morey and the Rockets were most interested in in this deal. He has tremendous upside still after being drafted 8th overall out of Washington. He shot 35% from three in college but, he hasn’t been able to replicate that in the NBA. But, his length still overs great potential both offensively and defensively.
If anyone can unlock the potential these two players still have, it’s this Houston Rockets team. The Rockets run a unique system that highlights the skill sets of these two players already. Both will be given the green light on threes and should shine in the pick and roll.
That being said, Morey may not be done making moves yet. Knight has about $14 million on his deal this year and about $15 on his deal for next year. This deal is about a five to six million times more moveable than Ryan Anderson’s was. Knight is also a more attractive asset than Anderson was.
These guys could be parlayed into another move for another player. Now, they have a restriction on them now that they cannot be traded with another player from the Rockets until after October 31st but, they can be swapped by themselves for another player. So, the team could look to flip Knight now for another guy or wait until November and combine assets for another player.
If Morey wanted to flip Knight now, there are a few options that work straight up. The Houston Rockets have been wanting to add another defensive wing and there are a couple that the team could be interested in.
Knight’s money works straight up with Kent Bazemore of the Hawks. Bazemore costs a little bit more and the Rockets would no longer have a net saving from trade Anderson but, paying two players slightly more that will actually contribute is worth it. We’ve talked about what Bazemore can add previously. The Hawks could also use Knight to bring along Trae Young.
Another guy the team could trade for is Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. The money works straight up by trading Knight and the Rockets would actually save a little bit more money. The Rockets could also flip Knight for Marvin Williams as the money works for him as well. The Hornets have less of a need for Knight but, he could play alongside Kemba Walker.
The Rockets could also look to the Heat for a deal, as the team was interested previously. However, the Heat didn’t want to take Anderson but, they could be enticed by Knight. James Johnson could be a target here as his money and Knight’s money is also identical. Adding Justise Winslow or trying for Tyler Johnson wouldn’t work because of the money.
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If the Houston Rockets wanted to wait to see how Knight meshed with the rest of the team and wait until he could be combined with another asset there are other, bigger options the team could try to acquire.
A Jimmy Butler trade is the most intriguing here. If the Timberwolves jumped out to a slow start that aggravated Butler even more, they could be inclined to make the move. The Rockets would have to add at least three more million dollars to make this move work, including Knight, like Chriss, or Zhou Qi, or Nene. There would also likely be a first round pick involved but, this would skyrocket the Rockets past the Warriors in terms of talent.
Now, the Rockets may be completely satisfied with adding Knight and Chriss and want to be done for the offseason. After all, these two players will add more to this team than Anderson ever could. After adding Carmelo Anthony, Anderson was rendered useless and the Rockets needed to flip him to save money and to improve the team. They did just that.
Morey always has new tricks up his sleeves and this proved to be one of them. No one, and I mean no one, had a deal like this on their radar, yet, Morey pulled it off anyways.