Heat to trade Wayne Ellington, Tyler Johnson to Suns in exchange for Ryan Anderson, per reports: Grades

The Miami Heat and Phoenix Suns have jumped into the fray ahead of the 2019 NBA trade deadline. 

According to reports from ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and The Athletic's Shams Charania, the two sides have agreed to a deal that will see Tyler Johnson and Wayne Ellington go to the Suns, while Ryan Anderson makes his way back to the Heat. Ellington is expected to be waived. 

This is in many ways a reshuffling of the decks for both sides, but as we should all know by now, not every trade is going to be a blockbuster. 

Here are the grades for each team. 

Phoenix Suns: B

Phoenix receives:

  • Tyler Johnson
  • Wayne Ellington (to be waived)

For some reason, the Suns apparently believed they were going to battle for one of the final playoff spots in the Western Conference this season, Or at least, that's the indication many people got from some of their offseason moves. They signed Trevor Ariza and Jamal Crawford and later traded for another veteran in Anderson. 

It didn't take them long, however, to realize that the playoffs weren't in their future. Just about two months into the season, they shipped Ariza to the Washington Wizards for Kelly Oubre, and now Anderson is on his way out of town as well. The big man will not have much to remember from his time in Phoenix, as he played in just 15 games and scored 56 points for the club. 

In exchange, the Suns have received Johnson and Ellington, the latter of whom will reportedly be waived before ever playing a game for the team. From the Suns' perspective, this deal is all about Johnson. A few years ago, Johnson got a massive four-year, $50M deal from the Heat a few years ago, but hasn't quite lived up to their expectations. 

Still, this isn't a bad flyer for the Suns to take. Johnson's development has plateaued, but he's still only 26, and has shown to be a solid scorer who can shoot the 3-pointer pretty well -- 36.7 percent for his career. Perhaps a change of scenery helps Johnson rediscover his form from a few seasons ago, and if not, the Suns can part ways after next season -- assuming Johnson picks up his player option in the summer. 

Worst case, Johnson is a solid stopgap option for their backcourt who can play both on and off the ball. And all they had to give up was Anderson, who wasn't even playing for them. 

Miami Heat: B-

Miami receives:

  • Ryan Anderson

The Heat's big deal for Johnson never quite worked out in the way they hoped. He's been a solid player for them, but never developed into anything close to a star, which has been the story with a number of their signings. Now, they've decided to move on. 

Sending out Johnson and bringing in Anderson should help balance out their roster a bit, while saving them some money in the process. Johnson was part of their logjam in the backcourt and on the wing, a problem that was going to get even worse with the imminent return of Goran Dragic from injury. Anderson, meanwhile, gives them a big who can space the floor. He'll make them worse defensively, but it might be worth it for stretches if he can help their sputtering offense. 

Perhaps more importantly from the Heat's perspective, however, is the savings this deal brings them. Johnson is almost definitely going to opt-in to his player option for next season, while Anderson's money for 2019-20 is only partially guaranteed. That's a decent bit of business. 

As for the other part of the deal, moving out Ellington in the process is a bit surprising. He'd fallen out of their rotation, but contending teams will pay a high price for veteran wings who can shoot, and they basically gave him away for nothing here. 

NBA Writer

Jack Maloney lives and writes in Milwaukee, where, like the Bucks, he is trying to own the future. Full Bio

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