Cavs Trade Kevin Porter Jr. To Rockets

JANUARY 22: The trade is now official, according to press releases from the Rockets and Cavaliers. Houston confirmed in its announcement that Clemons has been released to make room for Porter.

“After careful and thoughtful evaluation, we made the very difficult and collective decision to make this trade,” Cavs GM Koby Altman said in a statement. “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.”

JANUARY 21: The Cavaliers are sending second-year swingman Kevin Porter Jr. to the Rockets, Shams Charania of The Athletic reports (via Twitter).

In exchange, the Cavs will receive a future protected second-round draft pick from Houston, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski adds (via Twitter). Tim MacMahon of ESPN tweets that the pick is top-55 protected and will most likely never actually be conveyed to Cleveland.

As Chris Fedor of notes, the primary benefit of the deal for the Cavs is to open up a roster spot and to move off Porter’s guaranteed rookie-scale salary for this season ($1.72MM) and 2021/22 ($1.78MM). Since Houston can absorb Porter’s salary into a traded player exception, Cleveland won’t have to take a player back in the deal.

After throwing a locker room tantrum on January 15 when he discovered his locker had been relocated, Porter was instructed by the Cavaliers to clean out his locker and expect to be waived or traded.

Porter, who initially dropped in the 2019 draft due to off-court concerns, has had a tough second season. In November, he was arrested on charges of mishandling a firearm (a felony), plus driving without a license and marijuana possession (both misdemeanors). Last month, a grand jury cleared Porter of all charges.

Porter has not suited up for the Cavaliers at all this season. During a solid rookie outing, however, the No. 30 2019 draft pick out of USC impressed with averages of 10.0 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 2.2 APG and 0.9 SPG across 50 contests.

The Rockets, now in asset-accrual mode after sending perennial MVP candidate James Harden to the Nets in a four-team trade last week, are taking a flyer on a talented player in this deal. The hope, according to Fedor and MacMahon (Twitter link), is that veteran player development coach John Lucas can help Porter get his career back in track in Houston.

In order to open up a roster for Porter, the Rockets will waive injured guard Chris Clemons, per Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle (Twitter link).

Clemons’ minimum salary for 2020/21 was initially non-guaranteed, but Houston will be obligated to pay it in full after he suffered a season-ending Achilles tear. The Rockets are in better position to eat that money following the Harden deal — team salary is now comfortably below the luxury tax line rather than above it, and the club is no longer right up against its hard cap.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images. Luke Adams contributed to this story.

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78 thoughts on “Cavs Trade Kevin Porter Jr. To Rockets

  1. Steven St Croix

    If he grows up quickly and realizes his career can be gone in a second, this is a nice pick up.

  2. brownscavsr4me

    Wow. Top-55 protected is kind of a joke. I’m not too worried since Cavs have more trade capital and trades on the way, but giving away a future JR Smith type/caliber player for nothing is…interesting.

    • Ironmonger835

      They have a young team. You can’t have a cancer affect their other young guys like Sexton or Garland.

      • brownscavsr4me

        I’m with you. While I know the Cavs will be good without him, it’s just going bring out the what-ifs for Cavs fans if/when he ends up maturing because he’s got the talent.

    • phenomenalajs

      Top 55 protected pick is a standard way to allow a team to bypass the waiver process to pick up a player before he’s cut and to release the trading team from his contract. It’s similar to a conditional 7th round NFL pick for a player who might not make the final 53 out of training camp or a minor leaguer who is not regarded legitimate MLB prospect. Another way NBA teams often do it is with draft rights to an overseas player.
      NBA doesn’t work like the NFL with regard to draft position being based on when you’re eliminated from the playoffs. So the only way Cleveland would see that pick is if Houston finishes the regular season with no worse than the fifth best record in the league.

  3. DeathbyDeathwest

    Guess the Rockets *are* the NBA trade market this year.

    Seems like a bunch of cost cutting nonsense to me.

  4. formerlyz

    Steal…I get it…he has some issues, but honestly, I think this dude clearly just needs some help. You dont see stuff like this happen without some sort of other stuff going on. I personally think he is super talented, and you could argue he was their best asset only a few months ago, which is pretty crazy (Sexton took a massive jump the last month or so before the pandemic)…

    Curious to see who else Houston moves, at this point. For now, he gives them extra depth at the guard spot they arguably could have used. They could use a depth big, preferably someone that can defend pick and roll and protect the rim. That being said, they need more from DeMarcus Cousins in his role, b/c he has been an issue for them, and he should be capable of at least being a contributor

    • Walladipo and Wood

      Boogie is easily the Rockets biggest disappointment this season. They really need to find a reliable backup behind Christian Wood. But the team is otherwise loaded at guard and forward.

      They now have 10 players who will be competing for playing time at the 1-4: John Wall, Oladipo, PJ Tucker, Jae’Sean Tate, Gordon, House, David Nwaba, McLemore, Sterling Brown, and now Porter.

      • formerlyz

        I could see 1 or 2 of Oladipo, Eric Gordon, McLemore being moved in the right deal, in addition to a potential obvious pj tucker deal, but as I said in the other article the other day, I think they just need to get healthy as soon as possible, get the contributions off the bench I mentioned, and they could end up relatively similar to where they would have been before the season, so they will likely give it more time before going down that route.

        I also think they need to be more consistent with their rotation decisions. I want to see Sterling Brown’s minutes be more consistent. Big fan of Jae’sean Tate, and I’ve always liked David Nwaba, but throughout his career, I feel like he never gets the chance to build off the times he plays well, being shuffled around, in and out of rotations.

        For now, I dont expect to see Poter get too many minutes, but I still like it for them a lot moving forward, and he’ll likely get opportunities with guys out, or if they trade some of the aforementioned players, as he focuses on basketball…

        Coming out of the draft, Kenyon Martin jr reminds me a little of Aaron Gordon in some ways, and those guys give them interesting young building blocks, that should be able to complement each other

  5. Tatsumaki

    Solid when oladipo gets delt for more picks this will look like a brilliant move. I still wish lakers signed wood over harrell

  6. jump shot

    We’ll hear about him and Jae’Sean Tate getting into it in 3… 2… 1…

  7. HailRodgers12$

    So they relocated his locker, which prompted the outburst that led to him getting traded, and then he had to clean it out himself..

    Why does it feel like if they had just told HIM to relocate in the first place, this all might have been avoided?

    • brownscavsr4me

      Reports said he was disrespectful to teammates and staff members prior, he got in a lot of legal trouble with a gun weed and a big car accident, was accused of punching a girl in the face although she didn’t press charges, and threw a tantrum and food in front of his teammates and GM accusing them of “modern day slavery”. This was clearly building up and even if the outburst didn’t happen, the Cavs still had a watchful eye on his actions most likely because of things happening behind the scenes that we don’t see. He was the problem, not the Cavs.

      • HailRodgers12$

        I realize there was more to it than just the locker relocation incident. I was merely pointing out the irony in the team initially moving him to a different locker/ part of the room without his knowledge, and then after he essentially threw a tantrum because of it they asked him to go ahead and clean it out.

        • Lil_D_Top_3

          It’s so frustrating they still don’t talk about what was in his locker. Could be a big piece in all of this and yet the media continues to ignore. Smdh

          • Marty McRae

            No, it had to do with the 2-way and non-rotation guys being on 1 side of the room, and the rotation regulars on the other. He got put with the scrubs and rookies and he felt (correctly) should have been in the rotation. Is it petty? Sure. But what was in his locker doesn’t mean anything here.

          • brownscavsr4me

            Lol what? Where does it say anywhere there was something of value or bad in his locker? Reading a comment on social media about this possibility doesn’t make it true in the slightest. Please post a source that confirms there was something in the locker. Smdh back at you.

            • Lil_D_Top_3

              There is no source! That’s my point! No investigation whatsoever. Instead the media focuses on the fighting and prior issues. I’m not claiming something WAS there I’d just like to know definitively. Smdh back at YOU!

              • brownscavsr4me

                Ok so let me get this right. You, a person who has no right to the breach the privacy of another person stuff, demand the media and the team tell everyone what was in his locker, even though you have no sources that say this could be an issue whatsoever. You demand an investigation because you, someone whom I’m assuming doesn’t even care about the Cavs, needs to know whether he had something of value that caused this behavior even though it really wasn’t a shock that the outburst happened. He was away from the team for a good amount of time, and even though he probably had barely anything in the locker (let alone something of value/illegal) since he saw his locker moved for the first time after this leave of absence, you are still assuming that an investigation is necessary to prove what? That something was in the locker, which is your assumption whether you say you aren’t claiming that or not.

                The media is focusing on the fight and prior issues because those are the issues. Sports media has so many sources behind the scenes, they usually report everything they know. And even if something in the locker was a problem that was found and reported, people’s distrust in media would make you believe he was hiding more, or that it was planted there, or some other conspiracy.

                • Lil_D_Top_3

                  It could have been pictures of his family or his grandma which sorry I would be pissed too if some random janitor decided to rifle through and bring home with him.

                  Don’t take a messy taco bell dump in a bowl and tell me it’s a chocolate sunday. The facts are the facts.

                  • brownscavsr4me

                    What facts are you talking about? The facts are what have been stated by the team and media. You’re whole argument is not based in fact, or you would have a source to back it up.

                    • Lil_D_Top_3

                      Oh whatever maybe I’d have a source if someone actually did their job

                      • Curtisrowe

                        I am pretty sure this does have to do with a janitor having a picture of Porters grammy.

                        Nothing else makes sense.

                        • Lil_D_Top_3

                          The real headline should read Porter traded by Cavs when it is discovered a man in Belarus is using his Grandmother as a screensaver on his iPad

      • Marty McRae

        Thing is, the Cavs should have seen this coming, big L to their front office. They are complicit here, which a stan like you would never admit to, sigh.

        • brownscavsr4me

          Hi Marty, love your comments. The names and shots you take at people are hilarious and remind me how there are adults that still act like 15 year olds. Hope someone gives you a hug, cause you sure damn need one:)

          • x%sure

            There are no facts about the locker contents. To say that there is, is not to understand what a fact is. It is not a guess. All that brownscavs can complain about is people being suspicious and not accepting the company line boo hoo.

            There are no facts, except that the Cavs gave away for free what they had highly valued a month or so ago. So something happened besides a perceived demotion, although that is bad enough to cause a negative attitude. Calling the disagreement a “tantrum” is a classic Human Relations ploy to sound more innocent in their predisposition than they are.

            Next draft, Altman should avoid talent that may be less stable than their talent level. Which, is a lot of the available talent. But Altman may not be able to handle who he would like to have

            Basically it’s a fail. Four Seconds traded for a dumped tease. Looks like Drummond will be phased out too. Allen was a gift.
            When will Gilbert give up on Altman? If Altman needs a #5 pick to find a player, then he will have to stick to losing to get that pick. The Cavs cannot rely on attracting FAs.

    • formerlyz

      Apparently he hadnt been there all year, and it was the first time he was there, and they moved it for covid protocol reasons. That being said, probably something to give someone a heads up about, but someone disrespecting your stuff for actual legitimate reasons being compared to modern day slavery is probably a leap…its not like this is the nfl, where that’s an actual thing. He sounds like certain people complaining about health protocols back in April. Super entitled.

      Kid is also still super young. Sometimes you let dumb stuff get to you

      • KnickerbockerAl

        Only you’re forgetting he has history. He dropped in draft cause of issues. This was just beyond childish and disrespectful. I get he’s young but he better grow up quick. An NBA gig is high priority. No reason to ever mess with that. Wish him the best.

        • Marty McRae

          Notice how “history” only ever comes up to destroy a Black mans reputation – the news does it with arrests all the time.

          • KnickerbockerAl

            Try living in the real world. And debate on reality. Not things you imagine. Or want to infuse. The NBA is run by black American stars. You should show some respect about inflicting racial tones to a conversation. Stupid has no color. I doubt you even are about this kid. Seems like an insignificant action to me. Growing pains are boring.

      • SheaGoodbye

        For what it’s worth, I think the modern day slavery bit was in reference to the fact that they had kept him out for an extended period of time for personal reasons/to work on himself. So I think from his perspective, he felt as if he had been ready to play for some time now, but the team was not satisfied with his progress and continued to keep him out against his wishes.

        I’ve also seen some theories that the Cavs had already decided to move on from him and used the locker moving bit as bait to justify moving him. It may not be likely, but I do think it’s plausible.

          • SheaGoodbye

            Thanks. I definitely don’t condone what happened, but as they say, there are two sides to every story.

            One scenario is the Cavs really did do everything in their power to help Porter and he bears more-or-less all of the responsibility for the events that have transpired. But without his side of the story and/or more details, we cannot rule out scenario two, where the Cavs also share some, though likely not a majority, of the blame.

    • SheaGoodbye

      It’s a move you tend to see in bad organizations. Not to excuse Porter’s actions because there is no defending what happened or his prior transgressions, but I do wonder how much help the Cavs truly gave him during his time away. If we were talking about a franchise with a strong track record of handling such matters it would be a different story, although the team looks to be improving. Hard to say without more details.

      • brownscavsr4me

        How are Cavs a bad organization? The last bad move we made draft-wise was Anthony Bennett who wasn’t drafted by Altman. The last bad roster moves were when we signed a lot of veterans like Wade, Rose, Thomas which didn’t work out but wasn’t a “bad move”. Player handling-wise, who did they not handle well? Kyrie wanted out because of LeBron and he’s basically said it. LeBron lead teams before that were full of accountability. Tristan and Love wanted out last year because of our bad coaching with John Beilein. Point is, how are we a bad organization? (If I left out any examples that counter my points lmk, I’m truly curious) It hate hearing we are a bad franchise, obviously as a Cavs fan.

        Also, about KPJ, it’s not like he didn’t have role models around him. JB Bickerstaff and Kobi Altman are players coaches/GM and both are loved within the organization. Reports say they gave him a lot of help, and he was surrounded by good influences. Kevin Love is a huge advocate for mental health. JaVale is a great locker room presence. Sexton is one year older and said to have the best work ethic on the team. Okoro is a year young and model of how to jeep your nose down and work hard. Larry Nance is a leader…etc. etc. No one has gotten in trouble or influenced his, you would think.

        I get where you’re coming from, since everyone everyone is like why move the locker in the first place? But IMO I don’t think they intended this to happen. If they wanted to trade him, why let it get out that he was being immature and lower his trade value to near nothing?

        • x%sure

          You think the Cavs have not made bad moves? lol. I think more than the average errors.
          The problem here is transparency… or accepting that their actions will not be as private as they would like. I suspect a Gilbert Arenas thing… he brought a gun in… but that’s just a wild guess. There’s a story that will be tough to keep wrapped.

          • brownscavsr4me

            Got to give examples bud. Saying, “oh yes they have had bad moves” without a backup argument tells me you having nothing to actually back up your argument. And give me examples after Kobi Altman took ovrr. Cavs look really good this year even with all the injuries. The young core looks GREAT. Transparency?

        • SheaGoodbye

          You don’t consider signing Love to a max a bad deal even when it was abundantly clear to every person in the game that it was destined to be a terrible move? And, as you pointed out, they made a bad hire in Bielein. IT2 was also a bad move, as his hip issue was known about at the time. I totally get needing to get Kyrie out of town, but I think they could’ve gotten a better return even with limited leverage.

          More importantly, without LeBron, this franchise would have gone nowhere the last few decades, and for years they weren’t able to surround him with enough talent to win. That doesn’t happen by accident in 95% of cases. Rather, it is often a reflection of bad ownership, which I think applies here.

          Again, I think this franchise has shown signs of turning things around this season, but the point is that sample size is still small relative to the much longer period of relative futility. And without having Porter’s side of the story, it’s hard to give them implicit trust in this situation; the same would apply to a number of other franchises, not just the Cavs. For the sake of you and all the other Cavs fans out there, though, I hope they continue down this improving path, as the current group of guys are solid and have shown real growth.

          Also, for what it’s worth, I’m a fan of what I consider to be mediocre and bad franchises, respectively—the Mets and Jets—so I’m coming less from a place of criticism and more from a place of personal experience. I wouldn’t say the Cavs have been as bad as, say, the Knicks, but I think they had been in the lower tier of organizations going back years. After this year, that may change.

  8. Redmobb7

    If he can get it together he has the potential to be one of the best up and coming iso guards

  9. Walladipo and Wood

    Low risk, high reward move for Houston. They’re loaded with lots of young talent right now. Porter and KJ Martin are both just 20, Christian Wood and Jae’Sean Tate are both 25, and Oladipo is 28. PJ Tucker and Gordon are the only ones 31 or older.

    • KnickerbockerAl

      Loaded with potential to fail. You know you have been all over the Rocket map. Since the Bubble. From dissing CP3 and Westbrook. To talking up guys that put on Rockets unis. You need to lay back. And just see how things play out. There’s optimism and foolishness. Optimism takes time to play out. Relax bro Rockets are headed in right direction.

  10. siggers84

    Cavs done well getting rid of him. Impressed with there moves over last couple of seasons

  11. El Don

    Drugs, guns, dissing staff members… all of this is bad, but punching a girl in the face means this guy is nothin’ but a douche bag, he mustn’t be in the league, he ain’t deserving it, can’t wait for the day he ends up in China or even better behind bars!

  12. KnickerbockerAl

    Cavs did right thing. Age is not an excuse for being an idiot. This can not be the only incident. And it’s just way overboard. They didn’t get equal value. The value is in controlling the team. They are young and don’t need hot heads. Especially bench guys. At 20 he’s got potential and time to be a solid pro. He better wake up and realize that. It’s a smart move for Rockets. He’s young and can learn from Wall. At worst he’s your backup PG who plays D. Or just cut him, not losing much. Definitely could grow to be part of rotation. This also gives Rockets options on TD. Oladipo and Gordon could be on the move. Definitely worth it to me. Needs to grow up.

  13. PutoBelga12

    Porter Jr will get punched in practice by Boogie by the end of February. You read it here first.

  14. phillyballers

    I’m curious how much of his rookie salary is going to the girl he punched in the face.

  15. Lrtexasman

    He’s not even old enough to legally buy a beer. He has time to mature. Rockets are desperately trying to finish with a bottom 3 pick (would protect their #1 this year). I’d like to see Tucker get moved for 2 unprotected 2nd round choices to balance our draft out. Let Oladipo and Wall play restricted minutes to heal up and either move them in the off season or build for the future.

  16. Wade Herbers

    Guy punched a woman in the face???? For real???

    Then he deserves jack $hit.

  17. yoyo137

    Cause the Blazers don’t have a 2nd round pick they can send. I’m sick of the Blazers being garbage because we only want players with “character” like dawg we are never going to win a championship ever again

    • yoyo137

      Neil Olshey creating the GOAT religious and good work ethic team and we have no talent

  18. leftcoast11 - pyramidsuccess

    Respect…He’s a pro being pd by the organization.They had zero rt moving his gear.He was under contract and they violated his privacy within the organizations walls.100% fact…. I cannot go into any of my employees locker without a court order or search warrant.If I do I violate that employees human rights and I can be prosecuted for theft.If I own the property or not.Ridiculous,simple request with a time frame to relocate his personal belongings is how you treat a man or women you have employed for 7 figures.

  19. frozeninneohio

    The man (and I use the term loosely) hadn’t played a game all year. The Cavs don’t practice at the arena but at an off-site facility. Players don’t leave personal belongings that mean anything to them in a locker for the number of months he had been away. All the speculation and conspiracy theories are laughable. Multiple players had lockers moved due to COVID protocols before the season and you don’t see them doing the chicken-wing-fling because of it. It wasn’t an invasion of privacy given that “locker” really isn’t a locker but closer to a cubicle than anything. Face it; he’s an angry, emotionally unstable person with multiple transgressions who, like a lot of 20 year olds, felt entitled to be treated like a king, likely due to years of being allowed to get away with his behavior through jr high and high school because of his talent, and he finally met someone that wouldn’t put up with his behavior any longer. I applaud Altman for having a set of balls big enough to cut bait on a guy after taking a chance and having it blow up. Accountability is rare these days.

  20. stevep-4

    The more I think about it, KPJ is the perfect fit for the Rockets organization.

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