Cavaliers Rumors

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.

Central Notes: Porter, Sexton, Turner, Pistons

Having made up their minds last weekend to trade or release Kevin Porter Jr., the Cavaliers found a taker on Thursday night, agreeing to a deal that will send the second-year wing to Houston. Cleveland won’t get anything of value in return, but was at least able to move off Porter’s salaries for this season and next, opening up a roster spot in the process.

Given how high the Cavaliers were on Porter’s on-court potential following his promising rookie season, the move represents a major step back in the team’s rebuild, according to Chris Fedor of As Fedor writes, the 20-year-old was viewed by many within the organization as the player with the highest upside of any on the roster, and it was only a few months ago that he was considered virtually untouchable in trade talks.

Head coach J.B. Bickerstaff, general manager Koby Altman made every effort to make things work with Porter, who has made a series of poor off-court decisions, but ultimately felt like they couldn’t get through to him and decided it was time to move on.

“The organization did everything and more for him,” a league source told Fedor. “They went above and beyond. They gave him more chances than most franchises would have.”

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • While Porter won’t be part of the Cavaliers‘ rebuild going forward, Collin Sexton – who poured in a career-high 42 points in an impressive win over Brooklyn on Wednesday – continues to establish himself as a cornerstone player for the franchise, Fedor writes in a separate story for
  • After suffering an avulsion fracture in his right hand last Thursday, Myles Turner has missed the Pacers‘ last two games, but he could be back in the lineup as early as Friday. As J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star writes, Turner’s return will come down to how much pain and discomfort he can play through. “There’s really not much you can do for it to heal,” Turner said on Thursday. “No surgery. No time off. It’s just one of those things you’ve got to get used to.”
  • In his latest mailbag, Rod Beard of The Detroit News explores whether the Pistons should be playing their rookies more, Jerami Grant‘s role in the team’s rebuild, and the possibility of trading Derrick Rose by this season’s deadline.

Jarrett Allen On Cavs: "I Love What The Front Office Is Doing"

  • While Jarrett Allen admitted he was “disappointed” by not getting the chance to continue his career in Brooklyn, he’s excited to be part of the Cavaliers, as Chris Fedor of relays. “It’s good that they want to invest in me, invest in my improvement and have me be a part of their organization,” Allen said. “I love what the front office is doing. I love how the coaches are teaching us. I can’t wait to play with them.”

Kyrie Irving Practices With Nets, Expected To Play Wednesday

Nets guard Kyrie Irving, who hasn’t appeared in a game since January 5, returned to practice on Tuesday and is expected to be back in action on Wednesday when Brooklyn takes on the Cavaliers, head coach Steve Nash told reporters today (Twitter link via Ian Begley of

Irving was required to quarantine for several days after violating the NBA’s health and safety protocols, and more recently has been going through workouts in an effort to get his conditioning level back to 100%. Before that, he had been away from the team on personal leave.

Asked today about his absence, the star point guard declined to go into much detail, telling the media – including Malika Andrews of ESPN (Twitter link) – that he’s had “a lot of family and personal stuff” going on during the last two weeks.

I’m happy to be back, I’m happy to be with these guys,” Irving said, per Adam Zagoria of Forbes (Twitter link). “I addressed the team and ready to move on.”

Irving also apologized to the fans he disappointed by not playing, explaining that he “just needed a pause,” according to Andrews (Twitter link). He added that he’s excited about joining the Nets’ new-look lineup alongside James Harden, and is looking forward to letting his “game speak for itself.”

Assuming Irving returns to the court on Wednesday, it’ll be the first time we see Brooklyn’s new Big Three (Irving, Harden, and Kevin Durant) in action, as well as the first time Kyrie has played a game in Cleveland since October 17, 2017, as Marc Stein of The New York Times notes (Twitter link). A longtime Cavalier, Irving played in his first game for the Celtics on that date over three years ago.

Nets Shopped Shamet Before Harden Swap

The Nets shopped guard Landry Shamet for a first-round pick prior to the James Harden blockbuster deal, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said on his podcast (hat tip to RealGM).

The motivation for Brooklyn was to forward another first-rounder to the Rockets and hold onto young center Jarrett Allen. Brooklyn gave up three first-rounders to Houston in the deal and a fourth one might have allowed them to retain Allen.

The Cavaliers were motivated to acquire Allen, a restricted free agent after the season, and gave up an unprotected 2022 first-round pick that Milwaukee owed them as part of the complex four-team swap. Cleveland also took on Taurean Prince‘s multiyear salary.

“I talked to two different teams that the Nets offered Landry Shamet to in the last week, attempting to get a first-round pick,” Windhorst said. “They were trying to keep Jarrett Allen, as you can imagine. To get the fourth first-round pick, they were trying to find a team that would give them anything. And so they shopped Landry Shamet pretty hard from what I understand.”

Without Allen, the Nets are left with DeAndre Jordan as the only true center on the roster and it will be difficult for them to trade for another of consequence.

“I just don’t see a lot of assets on the roster. And of course they have no first-round picks they can trade,” Windhorst said.

Shamet was acquired from the Clippers in a three-team trade during the offseason. Brooklyn exercised its $3.77MM 2021/22 option on Shamet prior to this season. He’s making roughly $2.1MM this season.

Shamet will have difficulty getting minutes behind Harden and Kyrie Irving, who is expected to return as early as Wednesday from his personal absence. He played 11 minutes off the bench in the Nets’ two-point win over Milwaukee on Monday. Shamet is shooting just 34.3% from the field in a reserve role this season.

Central Notes: Porter Jr., LeVert, Weaver, Oladipo

Cavaliers second-year swingman Kevin Porter Jr., who is expected to be traded or waived soon, was told to clean out his locker after his outburst toward GM Koby Altman and other team officials on Friday, according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst. Porter was incensed when his locker was moved to another location to make room for newcomer Taurean Prince.

The decision to move Porter’s locker spot was based on NBA seniority and spacing to adhere to COVID-19 protocols, Spencer Davies of Basketball News reports. Porter was heard yelling about “modern-day slavery” during the argument with Altman, Davies adds.

Coach J.B. Bickerstaff didn’t directly address Porter’s status on Monday but strongly hinted the decision to move on from Porter was final, according to Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

“We all want to see Kevin be successful. I still feel that way,” Bickerstaff said. “So whatever it is that happens in the future for him, I hope nothing but the best for him. And it’s part of our responsibility as coaches to give everyone our all and try to make the best of every situation. I can say that we did that.”

We have more from the Central Division:

  • Pacers GM Kevin Pritchard feels strongly that Caris LeVert will fully recover from his kidney issue but expects it will be six-to-eight weeks before he can even pick up a basketball again, according to Tony East of Forbes Sports (Twitter links). “We got comfortable with the medical,” he said. “We are getting more comfortable every single day. He’s probably going to have surgery.” The team will know more about LeVert’s timeline in the next seven days, East adds.
  • Pistons GM Troy Weaver made more roster moves than any other NBA executive during the abbreviated offseason and he vows to stay bold during the team’s rebuilding process, Rod Beard of the Detroit News writes. “When I was growing up, I didn’t stick my toe in the pool; I jumped in,” Weaver said. “I sit on the front on the roller coaster with my hands up so I’m not going to come in and be gun-shy. My clip will be empty.”
  • Victor Oladipo, traded to the Rockets in the four-team blockbuster that brought James Harden to Brooklyn, bid farewell to Pacers fans in an Instagram post. “I find myself going through a wide range of emotions.  But the one emotion or feeling that I keep coming back to is gratitude,” he wrote in part. “I am just extremely grateful right now. … Grateful to still be able to make a living playing the sport I love. Grateful that I still have the opportunity to achieve greatness at the highest level of basketball. But I’m deeply grateful of my time spent in Indiana and in the city of Indianapolis.”

Cavs Expected To Trade Or Release Porter Following Locker Room Incident

The Cavaliers are expected to either trade or release second-year wing Kevin Porter Jr. following an incident in the team’s locker room on Friday, multiple sources tell Jason Lloyd, Joe Vardon, Kelsey Russo, and Shams Charania of The Athletic.

According to The Athletic’s report, Porter became angry when he entered the locker room and found that the club had given his old locker to newly-acquired forward Taurean Prince. Sources tell The Athletic that Porter’s locker had been moved to a wall where the “younger, end-of-bench players reside.”

Porter began yelling and at one point threw food, according to The Athletic’s reporters, who say that the 20-year-old remained combative when confronted by general manager Koby Altman. Head coach J.B. Bickerstaff also entered the locker room during the outburst, having heard the commotion from his office, and was “shocked and disgusted by what he heard,” per The Athletic.

Cleveland spent the weekend attempting to trade Porter, according to Lloyd, Vardon, Russo, and Charania.

Porter, the 30th overall pick in the 2019 draft, had a promising rookie season, averaging 10.0 PPG and 3.2 RPG on .442/.335/.723 shooting in 50 games (23.2 MPG). However, he has yet to play for the Cavs this season for personal reasons.

The former USC swingman was arrested in November after flipping his Mercedes SUV. He was charged with improper handling of a firearm in a motor vehicle, a felony, in addition to misdemeanors for driving without a license and marijuana possession. All charges were dropped in December by a grand jury.

Porter is earning $1.72MM this season and $1.78MM in 2021/22, with a $3.22MM team option for ’22/23. If he plays out the contract, he’d be extension-eligible in 2022 and RFA-eligible in 2023.

Oladipo-LeVert Deal Complete; Pacers Get Additional Compensation

The Rockets and Pacers have officially completed their swap of high-scoring guards, with Caris LeVert going to Indiana and Victor Oladipo heading to Houston, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets.

It’s part of the four-team blockbuster that sent former Most Valuable Player James Harden to Brooklyn, even though all other aspects were officially announced earlier this week. LeVert was acquired by the Rockets in that trade.

The part of the deal flipping LeVert to Indiana initially looked like it would be completed as a separate transaction, which would’ve allowed the Rockets to maximize the value of a trade exception created in the original trade.

However, an additional second-round pick and cash are being sent to Indiana due to an issue discovered in LeVert’s physical, per Charania, requiring the trade to be formally completed as a four-teamer.

[UPDATE: LeVert Out Indefinitely Due To Small Mass On Left Kidney]

In addition to Oladipo and a 2023 second-round pick (from the Rockets), the Pacers are also receiving cash and a 2024 second-round pick, says Charania. That additional pick, which is coming from Cleveland, was originally supposed to land with the Nets.

Per RealGM’s list of traded picks, the two picks headed to Indiana will technically be the least favorable of Houston’s, Dallas’, and Miami’s 2023 second-rounders; and the least favorable of Cleveland’s and Utah’s 2024 second-rounders.

With all aspects of the deal now completed, Harden is available to play Saturday for the Nets. Brian Mahoney of the Associated Press tweets.

Oladipo will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season and the Pacers feared they wouldn’t be able to re-sign him. In contrast, LeVert is in the first year of a three-year, $52.5MM contract. Both players have missed time in recent years due to injuries, but are healthy and playing well this season.

“We want to thank Victor for what he gave to the Pacers through his play, his diligence in rehab coming back from a serious injury, and his community efforts,” Pacers president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard said in a statement confirming today’s deal. “These decisions are obviously never easy and this one in particular was hard because of our relationship.

“Caris is a high-quality person who will fit in with what we as an organization are doing, on and off the floor. He’s a versatile young talent who we think will be a great fit with the direction our team is taking. He can play multiple positions and affect the game at both ends of the floor.”

The Rockets, meanwhile, could retain Oladipo and attempt to re-sign him beyond 2021 or could explore flipping him at the March 25 trade deadline. Houston can trade him immediately but would have to wait until after March 7 to move him in a deal that aggregates his salary for matching purposes. For now, the Rockets will probably want to see how Oladipo looks in their revamped lineup.

Because of the amended structure of the trade, the trade exception generated by the Rockets will be worth approximately $10.65MM instead of $15.45MM.

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

Trading Drummond Might Be Bad Idea

  • Jarrett Allen appears to be the Cavaliers’ main man in the middle after they acquired the restricted free agent from the Nets this week, but they shouldn’t be so quick to give away Andre Drummond, Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer opines. Drummond has been highly productive this season, as his 33-point, 23-rebound outing against the Knicks demonstrates. Trading Drummond, an unrestricted free agent after the season, could wind up making the team less competitive.

Cavaliers Notes: Allen, Prince, Drummond, McGee, Porter Jr.

The acquisitions of Jarrett Allen and Taurean Prince from the Nets in the multi-trade trade that sent James Harden to Brooklyn accelerated the Cavaliers’ rebuild, Kelsey Russo of The Athletic writes. Acquiring Allen, a restricted free agency, gives the Cavs a long-term answer in the middle if they re-sign him. Prince provides the team with a 3-and-D wing who could also see minutes at power forward.

We have more on the Cavaliers:

  • Once Allen is in uniform, coach J.B. Bickerstaff will have a pleasant dilemma of finding time at center for him as well as Andre Drummond and JaVale McGee, Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer notes. However, that dilemma may not stretch beyond March’s trade deadline. According to Fedor, shortly after the blockbuster trade, the team received calls on Drummond and McGee, both of whom will be unrestricted free agents after the season. Drummond erupted for 33 points and 23 rebounds against the Knicks on Friday.
  • Second-year swingman Kevin Porter Jr. rejoined his teammates on the bench for the first time this season on Friday, according to Fedor. Porter hasn’t played or practiced since the season started due to personal reasons. In November, he was arrested after flipping his Mercedes SUV. He was charged with improper handling of a firearm in a motor vehicle, a felony, in addition to misdemeanors for driving without a license and marijuana possession. All charges were dropped in December by a grand jury.
  • After facing the Knicks on Friday, the Cavaliers don’t play again until they host the Nets on Wednesday. Their two games in-between against the Wizards were postponed due to COVID-19 issues within Washington’s team.