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Rockets Rumors: Kevin Porter Jr. Contract to Be Approached 'with Caution—if at All'

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVJune 17, 2022

Mark Blinch/Getty Images

There is reportedly some doubt regarding whether the Houston Rockets will sign guard Kevin Porter Jr. to a contract extension.

According to ESPN's Tim MacMahon, the Rockets are expected to enter Porter's contract negotiations "with caution—if at all."

Per Spotrac, Porter is set to make $3.2 million in the final year of his rookie contract in 2022-23 before becoming a restricted free agent at the conclusion of the campaign.

The 22-year-old Porter has spent the past two seasons with the Rockets after originally getting selected 30th overall in the 2019 NBA draft by the Milwaukee Bucks, who flipped him to the Detroit Pistons on draft night. Detroit later dealt him to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

After appearing in 50 games for the Cavs as a rookie, Porter inactive for the first 14 games of the 2020-21 season before he was traded to the Rockets for a second-round pick. The trade occurred after Porter reportedly had an outburst in the Cavaliers locker room that stemmed from his locker being moved to make space for the newly acquired Taurean Prince.

KPJ played well during his first season in Houston, averaging 16.6 points, 6.3 assists, 3.8 rebounds and 1.9 three-pointers made, while shooting 42.5 percent from the field and 31.1 percent from beyond the arc in 26 games.

Porter was solid again last season as well, appearing in a career-high 61 games and averaging 15.6 points, 6.2 assists, 4.4 rebounds, 2.5 three-pointers made and 1.1 steals. He also shot 41.5 percent from the floor and 37.5 percent from long range.

Last season wasn't without controversy, however, as both Porter and Christian Wood were suspended one game for reportedly getting into a confrontation with assistant coach John Lucas.

Porter reportedly left the arena during a game following the halftime run-in with Lucas.

Any reservations the Rockets have about signing Porter to a long-term extension likely stem from attitude concerns rather than on-court performance.

Given how young he is, Porter has the potential to be an All-Star, but there are some red flags attached to him, which puts Houston in a difficult situation.

The Rockets are committed to 2021 No. 2 pick Jalen Green as their face of the franchise moving forward, but they need more stars around him in order to speed up the rebuilding process.

That star could be on the verge of joining the team since the Rockets own the No. 3 pick in the 2022 NBA draft, which could yield them Auburn forward Jabari Smith, Gonzaga center Chet Holmgren, Duke forward Paolo Banchero or Purdue guard Jaden Ivey.

The Rockets could do worse than Porter as a No. 3 option behind Green and the incoming first-round pick, but his volatility makes it a huge risk to commit long-term money to him.

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