As they hope to make up for falling short one game of the NBA Finals earlier this year, the Houston Rockets have been making some adjustments to their lineup, While forwards Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute heading elsewhere earlier in the summer, the team is reportedly close to formally adding 10-time All-Star small forward Carmelo Anthony. Recent rumors have also suggested that the team is trying to trade power forward Ryan Anderson, with the Atlanta Hawks’ Kent Bazemore frequently mentioned as the Rockets’ target acquisition. However, a recent tweet suggests that the Rockets might be shopping Anderson elsewhere, and looking to acquire Miami Heat guard Tyler Johnson or forward James Johnson.
According to Bleacher Report, USA Today NBA insider Sam Amick took to Twitter on Tuesday night to cite league sources and explain that the Houston Rockets aren’t interested in acquiring or even pursuing Bazemore in a deal that would send Anderson to the Hawks. This was an indirect response to a tweet from his USA Today colleague, Rockets Wire’s Kelly Iko, who said earlier in the day that the defensive-oriented shooting guard could head to Houston, with the Rockets giving up Anderson, rookie De’Anthony Melton, and a 2019 first-round selection.
While Iko indicated in a separate tweet that Kent Bazemore is open to joining the Houston Rockets or Milwaukee Bucks, Amick countered by saying that the 29-year-old guard is not in the former team’s plans. He stressed that Ryan Anderson might still be on the trading block, but added that trading him to the Miami Heat for James Johnson or Tyler Johnson is “definitely something [the Rockets would] have interest in,” as the team is not looking for someone who plays a particular position.
A 10-year NBA veteran who played the last two seasons for the Houston Rockets, Ryan Anderson averaged only 9.3 points and 5.0 rebounds in 2017-18, as he regularly lost playing time and starts to the more defensive-oriented P.J. Tucker. Meanwhile, Heat guard Tyler Johnson averaged 11.7 points and 2.3 assists and could be used as a backup to either Chris Paul at point guard or James Harden at shooting guard, should the Rockets choose to trade for him. The unrelated James Johnson was another key player for the Heat last season, posting averages of 10.8 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 3.8 assists, and could play both small forward and power forward positions.
In response to Amick’s tweet, many fans expressed skepticism that the Miami Heat would give up either one of the Johnsons in exchange for Ryan Anderson, but some Twitter users opined that James Johnson would be a particularly good addition to the Rockets because of his defensive ability. Others suggested that the Rockets should ask for a second player in return for Anderson, such as shooting guard Wayne Ellington or small forward Justise Winslow, while one user insisted that Kent Bazemore, despite Houston’s alleged lack of interest, is still the ideal player to get in return for Anderson.