PHOENIX SUNS

Suns trade Brandon Knight, Marquese Chriss to Rockets

Aug 31, 2018, 4:03 PM | Updated: 4:06 pm

The Phoenix Suns proved the NBA offseason never stops, even in late August, trading Brandon Knight and Marquese Chriss to the Houston Rockets.

The deal, first reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski on Thursday night, was made official on Friday afternoon.

The Suns will receive power forward Ryan Anderson and rookie guard De’Anthony Melton, the 46th pick in the 2018 NBA Draft.

“We are excited to welcome Ryan Anderson and De’Anthony Melton to Phoenix,” Suns general manager Ryan McDonough said in a press release. “Ryan has established himself as one of the league’s best shooters and we think he’ll be a great fit in our offensive system. De’Anthony is a talented young guard who stood out for us throughout the pre-Draft process and at the NBA Summer League.”

Wojnarowski added that Anderson agreed to reduce his 2019-20 guarantee amount on his salary from $21.3 million to $15.6 million, the same amount Phoenix owed Knight in the final year of his contract. This year, Anderson will be paid $20.4 million.

Phoenix has until July 10, 2019, to decide on picking up Anderson’s $21.3 million deal or waiving him for $15.6 million.

Knight, initially acquired in February 2015 for a Lakers first-round pick that eventually turned into Suns 2018 draft pick Mikal Bridges, was expected to play a large role in the Suns’ backcourt.

Phoenix signed him to a five-year, $70 million contract extension in July 2015.

However, after nearly being an All-Star with the Milwaukee Bucks, Knight only played 50 games in 2015-16 and then started only five in 2016-17 as guard Devin Booker began his rise to stardom.

A torn ACL in July 2017 shut him down last season.

Knight has two years left on his contract and is slated to make $14.6 million this season.

Chriss looked like the odd man out of the rotation with additions Trevor Ariza and Mikal Bridges. In addition to those three, the Suns had Josh Jackson, T.J. Warren and Dragan Bender as players who can play meaningful minutes at both forward positions.

The No. 8 overall pick in 2016 has been unable to tap into the potential Phoenix saw when it traded up in the draft to pick him.

He averaged almost a block and steal per game over his two years, but that was based largely on his athleticism instead of particularly strong defense. Chriss has a career scoring average of 8.5 points, 4.8 rebounds and shoots a tad over 30 percent from 3-point range.

The 30-year-old Anderson averaged 9.3 points per game in a reduced role for Houston last season.

A stretch-four, Anderson shot 40 percent from 3-point range two seasons ago with Houston. Last season, though, despite posting a strong 38.6 percent from deep, he shot two fewer 3-pointers per game.

Wojnarowski reported that Anderson will start at power forward for the Suns.

Melton, a combo guard, is a rookie from USC. He averaged 8.3 points, 3.5 assists and 4.7 rebounds per game in the 2016-17 season for the Trojans and did not play last year.

The Suns now have Melton, Elie Okobo, Shaquille Harrison and Isaiah Canaan as options at point guard.

According to Wojnarowski, the Suns are “hopeful” that Harrison can take on a bigger role this year.

Wojnarowski also said the front office will pursue a trade for a “starting-caliber” option at point guard.

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