Rockets Rumors: Kevin Porter Jr., Houston 'Mutual Interest in a Contract Extension'

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVJuly 25, 2022

TORONTO, ON - APRIL 8: Kevin Porter Jr. #3 of the Houston Rockets dribbles against the Toronto Raptors during the first half of their basketball game at the Scotiabank Arena on April 8, 2022 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. 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 Mark Blinch/Getty Images)
Mark Blinch/Getty Images

The Houston Rockets and guard Kevin Porter Jr. reportedly have "mutual interest" in agreeing to a contract extension before the start of the 2022-23 NBA season.

Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium reported the two sides could strike a deal before the Oct. 17 deadline for rookie extensions. Porter is heading into the final year of his rookie contract after being taken with the No. 30 overall pick in 2019.

Negotiations for a contract extension will be interesting, in large part because Porter is a decidedly non-max player. Rookie max extensions tend to be generally straightforward. There's only a certain amount the team can offer, and negotiations often come down to whether a player gets an option in the final year of the deal.

Non-max players are trickier because, in nearly all cases, the player sees his value as much higher than the team. Porter is coming off a season where he averaged 15.6 points, 6.2 assists and 4.4 rebounds per game while shooting 37.5 percent from three-point range. He's a solid 22-year-old player with upside, but he's also shown significant decision-making flaws—both on and off the floor.

On the floor, Porter tends to be a combination of trigger-happy with his shot and turnover-prone. His advanced stats are almost unilaterally concerning, particularly on the defensive end, where he's been a sieve. When Porter is at his best, his potential to develop into a quality NBA point guard is obvious; his on-court maturity has just been lacking to this point.

The Cleveland Cavaliers traded Porter after a locker room outburst saw him throw food in the locker room. That incident was predated by Porter being arrested on gun charges after he was involved in a November 2020 car crash. Those charges were later dropped.

The Rockets suspended Porter and Christian Wood last season for their actions in a January loss to the Philadelphia 76ers. Porter reportedly left the arena at halftime after a heated confrontation with assistant coach John Lucas.

Houston traded Wood to the Dallas Mavericks this offseason but seemingly remains committed to Porter. That said, Porter's history of questionable behavior behind the scenes likely limits what he can demand in contract talks.