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NBA Rumors: Rockets, Kevin Porter Jr. Both Want New Contract Before Start of Season

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVAugust 25, 2022

Logan Riely/NBAE via Getty Images

The Houston Rockets and Kevin Porter Jr. share a mutual interest in agreeing to a contract extension before the 2022-23 NBA season begins, according to The Athletic's Kelly Iko.

Porter is eligible to sign a new deal now. Otherwise, he can become a restricted free agent next offseason.

Iko wrote how the 22-year-old arrived in Houston with something to prove "on the court, where Porter was asked to switch positions to point guard, and also off the court, with personal growth and maturity."

The Cleveland Cavaliers traded Porter to the Rockets in January 2021. His exit came after a reported verbal confrontation with Cavs officials in the locker room.

A similar incident unfolded in Houston this past January, with ESPN's Tim MacMahon and Adrian Wojnarowski reporting he left Toyota Center midway through a 124-111 loss to the Denver Nuggets.

In terms of his performance, Porter has delivered for Houston. He's averaging 15.9 points and 6.2 assists while shooting 41.8 percent overall and 35.7 on three-pointers through 87 games.

The 6'4" guard's potential was clear for all to see when he dropped 50 points and 11 assists on the Milwaukee Bucks in April 2021.

Still, Iko posited how Porter is approaching a pivotal season, "either validating why Houston was right to give him long-term money or why the Rockets made a mistake not to."

Based on his track record, there's an obvious level of risk in extending Porter now. But there's some risk in not extending him now, too. A long-term contract will only become more costly next summer if he continues to play well.

The backcourt partnership of Porter and Jalen Green went through some expected growing pains in 2021-22. Pairing two young guards together in starting roles isn't a recipe for winning basketball in the short term. The Rockets averaged the most turnovers (16.5) in the league and were 23rd in assists (23.6) while finishing 26th in offensive rating (108.1), per NBA.com.

But it's easy to see why Houston wants to move forward with Porter as part of its foundation.

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