Kevin Porter Jr. is getting traded to the Houston Rockets, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania. The Cleveland Cavaliers will receive a protected second-round pick in the deal. Porter, the No. 30 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, spent his rookie season in Cleveland but had not played so far this season due to personal issues.
Porter originally fell to No. 30 largely thanks to character concerns. In August, he was accused of punching a woman according to a report by Cleveland.com, and in November, he was arrested on suspicion of possessing a weapon and marijuana. Porter reportedly had an outburst after his locker was moved to a different section of the locker room earlier this week, leading to Cleveland’s decision to either trade or release him.
Porter had a very promising rookie season. He averaged 10 points on 44 percent shooting, but pushed that scoring above 14 points per game across a stretch from late January through early March when he received more playing time. He did enough in that time for some to wonder if he, not No. 5 overall pick Darius Garland, was the proper long-term backcourt partner for Collin Sexton in Cleveland.
Now, he’ll join a suddenly crowded Rockets backcourt. The starting spots are currently occupied by John Wall and Victor Oladipo, and veteran Eric Gordon is entrenched as well. That leaves Porter to compete with players like Mason Jones, Ben McLemore and Danuel House for reserve minutes.
But Houston is not likely to contend any time soon with James Harden now playing for the Brooklyn Nets. Taking high-risk, high-reward swings on youngsters is typically a prudent move under such circumstances. On paper, this is the sort of move the Rockets should be making. We saw glimpses of his potential in Cleveland. Now, the Rockets will hope to find more consistent production out of the former first-round pick.