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Report: Rockets Preserving Cap for '23 Free Agency in Kevin Porter Jr. Contract Talks

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVAugust 5, 2022

Mark Blinch/Getty Images

The Houston Rockets are reportedly prioritizing saving salary-cap space for next offseason in their contract talks with guard Kevin Porter Jr.

According to Michael Scotto of Hoops Hype, the Rockets are seeking a team-friendly deal with Porter since they want to be players on the free-agent market in 2023.

Scotto noted that Porter's qualifying offer would likely be around $8.5 million, and the Rockets reportedly don't want to go much over that for a yearly salary if they sign him to an extension.

The 22-year-old Porter has spent the past two seasons with the Rockets after beginning his NBA career as a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2019.

Production has never been a problem for KPJ, as he put up averages of 16.6 points, 6.3 assists, 3.8 rebounds and 1.9 three-pointers made in 26 games for the Rockets in 2020-21.

Porter's scoring and assist numbers were down slightly last season, but he appeared in 61 contests and averaged 15.6 points, 6.2 assists, 4.4 rebounds, 2.5 three-pointers made and 1.1 steals while shooting 41.5 percent from the field and 37.5 percent from long range.

The biggest questions with Porter relate to his behavior off the court.

Porter's time in Cleveland ended abruptly, and ESPN's Brian Windhorst reported he had an outburst in the locker room as a result of the Cavs acquiring veteran Taurean Prince and giving him Porter's locker.

Then, last season, Porter was suspended one game by the Rockets, and ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported he got into a confrontation with assistant coach John Lucas during a game and left the arena at halftime.

Aside from wanting to save cap space, Porter's attitude issues could be part of the reason why the Rockets are unwilling to spend huge money on an extension despite his potential.

If the Rockets decide against re-signing Porter and allow him to leave in restricted free agency next offseason, it would make Jalen Green an even more important part of the backcourt and place added emphasis on bringing in another promising guard via the draft or free agency.

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