Report: Rockets' Kevin Porter Jr. 'Has Well-Documented Anger Management Issues'

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 3, 2022

HOUSTON, TEXAS - NOVEMBER 29: Kevin Porter Jr. #3 of the Houston Rockets controls the ball against the Oklahoma City Thunder at Toyota Center on November 29, 2021 in Houston, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

The Houston Rockets suspended Kevin Porter Jr. for Monday night's road matchup with the Philadelphia 76ers after he left the arena during Saturday's loss against the Denver Nuggets following a halftime confrontation with assistant coach John Lucas.  

According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and Tim MacMahon, "Porter has well-documented anger management issues—which the team believes he has made progress on—but those surfaced again Saturday and ultimately drove him to leave the arena instead of rejoining the team for the second half, sources said."

Per that report, "Porter became angry after Lucas challenged him at the half, revisiting an issue that led to the guard losing his composure on the bench during the first half, sources said."

Christian Wood was also suspended for Monday's game after being benched to start Saturday's game for missing a COVID-19 test and reportedly showing disinterest checking into that game in the second half. 

Porter started his career with the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2019-20 season, but a locker-room outburst served as the catalyst for his eventual trade to the Rockets in January 2021.

Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today reported at the time that Porter "became angry when he learned his locker space had been moved for Taurean Prince, who was acquired in the four-team blockbuster trade involving James Harden. Porter began yelling and throwing food, resulting in a confrontation with Cavs general manager Koby Altman."

Porter had not played a game for the Cavs in the 2020-21 season because of personal reasons.

"After careful and thoughtful evaluation, we made the very difficult and collective decision to make this trade," Altman said in a statement at the time. "Given the culture and environment we have worked to cultivate here in Cleveland, we feel this move is in everyone's best interest. Kevin has a bright future ahead of him as a professional basketball player and, at his core, is a good person."

The 21-year-old has played well for the Rockets since that trade, averaging 14.8 points and 5.7 assists across parts of two seasons while shooting 40.0 percent from the field and 31.8 percent from three.

But his basketball career has been impacted by off-court concerns. In November 2020, Porter was involved in a one-car crash and charged with improper handling of a firearm in a motor vehicle, failure to control the vehicle and misdemeanor possession of marijuana after his arrest, though all three charges were ultimately dismissed.

He was also suspended for two games by USC in his freshman season for "conduct issues."