NBA Trade Grades: Lakers Get Tyler Ennis From Houston

Dec 27, 2016; Dallas, TX, USA; Houston Rockets guard Tyler Ennis (6) dribbles as Dallas Mavericks guard Pierre Jackson (55) defends during the second half at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Lakers made their second deal in three days, exchanging backup point guards Tyler Ennis and Marcelo Huertas. Here are the NBA Trade Grades.

The Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Lakers were back at the table again on Thursday, making their second trade of the week.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical, the Rockets shipped backup point guard Tyler Ennis to the Lakers in a move designed to shed salary.

Houston had already cleared some $3.3 million by shipping wing K.J. McDaniels to the Brooklyn Nets earlier in the day.

The Lakers sent back another backup point guard in international veteran Marcelo Huertas, whom Houston intends to waive, according to Wojnarowski.

It’s generally not a huge deal when teams swap third-string point guards and this one will be no different. The key for Houston is shedding Ennis’ $1.7 million salary and then cutting loose Huertas, who was signed for $1.5 million this season.

That will leave the Rockets in good position for the veterans who will be bought out over the next few days, a market that will likely include Andrew Bogut and Deron Williams among others.

So let’s get to the NBA trade grades, shall we?

October 26, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard D’Angelo Russell (1) moves the ball against the defense of Houston Rockets guard Tyler Ennis (6) during the first half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Lakers

The Los Angeles Lakers represent yet another fresh start for Tyler Ennis, who goes to his fourth NBA club in less than three seasons.

Ennis, 22, was a first-round pick by the Phoenix Suns in 2014, was traded to the Milwaukee Bucks in February 2015, was shipped to the Rockets last September and went to the Lakers on Thursday.

He’s not at Ish Smith levels of frequent-flier miles yet, but he’s getting there quickly.

In 31 games with the Rockets, Ennis averaged just 6.3 minutes per game and put up 1.9 points and 1.1 assists on a .391/.375/.667 slash line (that last number being 2-for-3 at the foul line).

He has started eight games in his career–all while he was with Milwaukee, but will likely get an opportunity for some run with the Lakers backing up D’Angelo Russell.

With Magic Johnson now running the front office in L.A. and the franchise wanting desperately to hang onto its top-three protected pick in this June’s draft, it makes sense to go young.

So it would make sense for Ennis to slot in behind Russell ahead of 35-year-old Jose Calderon on the depth chart.

Giving Ennis 20-22 minutes per game to show what he can do over the final 24 games of the season provides coach Luke Walton and new general manager Rob Pelinka an opportunity to at least see what they have in Ennis, who will be an unrestricted free agent at season’s end after the fourth-year option on his rookie deal was declined last October by the Rockets.

Grade: C

Dec 7, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard Marcelo Huertas (4) defends Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) in the second quarter at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Houston Rockets

According to reports, Marcelo Huertas will never don the red-and-white of the Houston Rockets, so what he adds to the club is an open roster spot.

Huertas came to the NBA last season and played in 53 games as a reserve. This season, he appeared in just 23 of L.A.’s first 58 games, averaging 2.7 points and 2.3 assists in 10.3 minutes per game and shooting .368/.211/.529.

The speed of the NBA seemed a bit much for a player who was 32 by the time he arrived in the Association.

Huertas played 11 seasons in Spain’s Liga ACB, suiting up for five different clubs, and spent four years in the top Brazilian circuit before that.

Again, what he will mean to Houston is cap space and an open roster spot, so there’s no real point delving into how he fits as a backup to James Harden and Patrick Beverley at the point guard spot.

Huertas was a vehicle to dump Tyler Ennis’ larger salary and after he is waived, there will be a place for a player that could actually help the Rockets down the stretch and in the playoffs.

Mission accomplished.

Grade: C

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