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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.”
The Rockets denied a request seeking comment on the matter.
The NBA trade deadline is Feb. 7.
Chriss, 21, was once considered a promising athletic prospect, but has now been buried at the end of Houston’s bench.
The No. 8 pick in the 2016 NBA draft is playing the fewest minutes (6.7) of his young career and has appeared in just 15 games this season, registering double-digit minutes on just three occasions with a 14-minute game in late November being his season high.
It’s a stark contrast from what he accomplished with the Phoenix Suns, when he became the third-youngest player in NBA history to accumulate 100 steals, 100 3-pointers and 100 blocks at the age of 20, following LeBron James and Kevin Durant. He averaged 21.3 minutes in his first two seasons with the Suns.
“He’s on a really good team that has two or three guys ahead of him. That’s about the only thing,” D’Antoni told Yahoo Sports earlier this month. “He’s a good kid and he works hard. It’s just not his time yet.”
It was anticipated that the 6-foot-10 forward out of the University of Washington would have received his time a week ago.
With starting center Clint Capela sidelined four-to-six weeks after undergoing surgery on his right thumb, the Rockets picked up forward Kenneth Faried last week after he negotiated a buyout with the Brooklyn Nets.
Faried hasn’t played consistent rotational minutes in almost two years, but upon his arrival in Houston, he was thrust into the starting lineup in his second game with the team and is thriving alongside star James Harden.
After acquiring Chriss in a trade with Phoenix last offseason, general manager Daryl Morey spoke about how the forward “can be optimized” in D’Antoni’s system.
“Marquese is a guy in Mike’s offense who can roll and finish at the rim and is very athletic, and we feel he’s underrated as well,” Morey said.
Veteran Nene Hilario and last year’s second-round pick, Isaiah Hartenstein, have seen more action than Chriss this season.
Goodwin says all Chriss desires is an opportunity to earn more playing time.
“I would hate to see a career derailed because teams feel he cannot play at the level he did before the trade,” Goodwin said.
Chriss will be an unrestricted free agent this summer after the Rockets declined his fourth-year team option.
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