Rockets Trying To Trade Kevin Porter Jr.

The Rockets are attempting to unload guard Kevin Porter Jr., who was arrested this week on charges of assault and strangulation, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Sources tell Charania that Houston has contacted multiple teams about taking on Porter and is offering draft assets as an incentive. The Rockets “are keeping all options open” regarding Porter’s future, according to Charania’s sources, but they would like to use his $15.9MM salary to trade for a player who can help right away.

Charania points out that any team considering a Porter deal would have to weigh the “optics” of acquiring a player who is being charged with two felonies for an assault on his girlfriend, former WNBA player Kysre Gondrezick. It would also have to determine how much draft capital is necessary to take on a player who would presumably be waived right away.

Porter pleaded not guilty to the charges at his arraignment Tuesday and was ordered to appear in a New York court on October 16. Prosecutors said the attack left Gondrezick with a fractured vertebra in her neck, along with other physical damage.

Commissioner Adam Silver called the accusations “horrific” during a press conference on Wednesday, adding that the league’s investigation is being conducted in accordance with its domestic violence policy, which was bargained with the NBPA, writes Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle.

“Every case, though, also depends on its unique facts,” Silver said. “I think here when we’re not in-season there is a little bit more opportunity to absorb what’s happened before we react. I think if it were a case where we were more in the middle of the season, we might be compelled to do something faster.”

Training camps don’t open for nearly three weeks, so there’s not much time pressure for the league to act immediately. Feigen notes that the NBA has typically waited for the legal process run its course in past cases involving criminal allegations, and the most likely outcome appears to be that Porter will be placed on administrative leave until that happens.

The decision on Porter will be up to the league, as the CBA prevents teams from imposing their own fines or suspensions in cases of this type. However, Silver said the league office is communicating with Rockets officials during the investigation.

“Again, I’ve learned over many years of working on these cases not to assume anything here and not just rely on headlines,” Silver said, “but try to truly understand what’s happening here as a combination of what law enforcement has learned and direct interviews. We’re still now in the process of gathering information.”

The timing of any action against Porter could affect his contract, which has a minimum guarantee for 2024/25 that increases from $1MM to $3MM on opening night of the upcoming season. It would rise to $6MM if he’s still on the roster five days after the 2024 trade deadline and become fully guaranteed for $15.86MM on June 30, 2024.

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