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The Houston Rockets have pulled off the unthinkable, moving forward Ryan Anderson and his huge contract to the Phoenix Suns, according to a report from ESPN.
In return, the Rockets will receive point guard Brandon Knight and power forward Marquese Chriss, ESPN reported. The Suns will also receive rookie guard De’Anthony Melton, a second-round draft pick (No. 46 overall), from the Rockets.
The Rockets have been aggressively seeking a taker for Anderson since the end of the season, and until now, had zero success.
Anderson, 30, is due to make more than $20 million next season and just more than $21 million in 2019-20.
That money didn’t match his production in Houston — with Anderson averaging 9.3 points and 5.0 rebounds in 66 games last season. The scoring average was his lowest since 2009-10, his second season in the league.
Things were even worse during the Rockets’ run to the Western Conference Finals, as Anderson barely got off the bench in the playoffs and scored a measly 1.7 points per game.
Meanwhile, Knight missed all of last season with the Suns after tearing his ACL in the summer of 2017. He has been cleared to play and recently told Suns.com he’s excited to get back on the court.
“I’ve been excited since December, when I started running,” Knight said. “I’m looking forward to it. I’m very excited about this season. It’s all about us improving and trying to do what’s best here in Phoenix and give the fans what they deserve. When you’re not playing, you kind of get a chance to slow down and really just observe everything that’s going on as a whole. I think it allows you to see things differently.”
Knight, 26, signed a five-year, $70 million deal in 2015. He averaged 11.0 points in 52 games during the 2016-17 season.
Chriss, 21, averaged 7.7 points and 5.5 rebounds in 72 games last season, his second with the Suns. The former eighth overall draft pick played in all 82 games as a rookie.
Melton played for USC and declared for the draft as a sophomore — after being suspended during last season’s college basketball scandal. He was not charged nor accused of any wrongdoing by federal prosecutors.
Along with the latest trade, the Rockets lost forward Trevor Ariza off last season’s team, but added aging scorer Carmelo Anthony.
As for the Suns, all they did was select center DeAndre Ayton with the first overall pick in June, shortly after hiring former Utah Jazz assistant Igor Kokoskov as head coach in May.