The best big man in the NBA requested a trade.
So did the fifth-best big man in Houston.
The representation for Marquese Chriss is in discussions with the Houston Rockets to either find the third-year forward an opportunity to play or seek a trade in which Chriss will have a chance to earn rotational minutes, Aaron Goodwin, Chriss’ agent, told Yahoo Sports.
“Marquese didn’t ask to be traded to Houston,” Goodwin told Yahoo Sports. “The Rockets are a great organization and the kid has done everything they’ve asked of him to get on the floor. If it’s not going to happen there, we just want him to be treated fairly.”
“I would hate to see a career derailed because teams feel he cannot play at the level he did before the trade,” Goodwin said.
The second-funniest part of this: The Rockets were probably already trying to trade Chriss. He’s buried behind Clint Capela, Kenneth Faried, Nene and Isaiah Hartenstein on the depth chart. Chriss is also earning $3,206,160 this season. By shedding Chriss’ salary, Houston would reduce its impending luxury-tax bill by $5,403,099. There’s a decent chance nobody wants Chriss or else he’d already be traded.
The funniest part of this: Goodwin suggesting Chriss looked good with the Suns before getting traded to the Rockets. Chriss was quite bad in Phoenix. That was somewhat excusable given his age (now 21) and raw talent. But the level of play Chriss showed with the Suns was already beginning to derail his career. That’s why he got thrown into salary-focused trade with Houston.
Beyond the comedy, this a fairly typical NBA situation. The league is full of non-rotation players who want to play more or get traded. Many of them believe their current team is the main thing holding them back from playing time.
The NBA takes a different view. Davis got fined $50,000 for his agent’s public remarks. However, J.R. Smith avoided a fine for stating his desire to be traded – per the Cavaliers’ feedback, according to NBA commissioner Adam Silver. I bet the Rockets will extend Chriss similar leniency. The league might even interpret Chriss’ play-me-or-trade-me choice as permissible, unlike Davis’ pure trade request. But enforcement in this area is arbitrary, so who knows what the NBA will do?
As far as what Houston will do, probably nothing different. Keep playing better players over Chriss, keep trying to trade him.