Kevin Porter Jr. Traded to Rockets from Cavaliers for 2nd-Round Pick

Jenna CiccotelliAnalyst I

FILE - Cleveland Cavaliers' Kevin Porter Jr. drives against the Philadelphia 76ers in the first half of an NBA basketball game in Cleveland, in this Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2020, file photo. The Cavaliers are moving on from troubled and talented forward Kevin Porter Jr., a person familiar with his standing with the team told the Associated Press on Monday, Jan. 18, 2021. The Cavs will either trade or release Porter, who has not played for them this season, said the person who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak, File)
Tony Dejak/Associated Press

After just 50 games and three starts with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Kevin Porter Jr. is on the move.

The Houston Rockets acquired the 20-year-old in a trade on Friday in exchange for a protected second-round pick. The team waived guard Chris Clemons in a related move.

Cavaliers general manager Koby Altman noted in a statement that the deal was made with his franchise's "culture and environment" in mind:

"After careful and thoughtful evaluation, we made the very difficult and collective decision to make this trade. 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 career ahead of him as a professional basketball player and, at his core, is a good person. We wish Kevin and his family well in Houston."

While the 6'4" guard was a strong piece of Cleveland's rotation in his rookie season, averaging 10.0 points and 3.2 rebounds in 23.2 minutes per game, he never took the court in his second season for personal reasons

And when he returned to the sidelines to support his team, a confrontation with general manager Koby Altman reportedly resulted in the Cavaliers' decision to move on from the USC product. That outburst stemmed from Porter's locker being moved to make room for the recently acquired Taurean Prince, according to ESPN's Brian Windhorst

According to USA Today's Jeff Zillgitt, one person said Porter "began yelling and throwing food" when he discovered the change before a run-in with Altman.

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It is the latest development in some troubling months for Porter, who was arrested after he flipped his car in November. He admitted to drinking before the crash, and police found marijuana and a loaded handgun in his vehicle, according to Windhorst.

Authorities determined Porter was not impaired when he crashed his car, and a grand jury refused to indict him on marijuana or weapons charges after Porter proved he didn't know there was a gun in the vehicle.

Windhorst also recapped some concerns regarding Porter's social media activity toward the end of 2020:

"In October, Porter raised alarms when he posted a black square on his Instagram with the message 'Do you ever wish to see the end of your time?' After Cavs officials and teammates reached out, Porter deleted his Instagram account.

"He later posted a message on Twitter that read in part, 'I'm fine. Been thru my worse times already, can't get worse than what I already been thru. Love & Thank you.' That post was also later deleted."

But the Cavaliers saw promise in the 2019 first-round pick, having picked up his option in December to secure him for another year at $1.8 million. 

"We all want to see Kevin be successful and I still feel that way, so whatever it is that happens in the future for him, I hope nothing but the best for him," Cavs coach J.B. Bickerstaff said Monday. "It's part of our responsibility as coaches to give everyone our all and try to make the best of every situation, and I can say that we did that."

Porter now has a chance at a fresh start with Houston, a team in the midst of a rebuild after trading James HardenThe shooting guard gives the Rockets a high-upside scoring option who could help the team if he lives up to his potential.