Kevin Porter

Rockets Notes: Rebuilding, Porter, Gordon, Beauchamp

The Rockets own three first-round picks in tonight’s draft, which marks the latest step in a rebuilding project that began when James Harden was traded 17 months ago, writes Tim MacMahon of ESPN. Instead of seeking immediate contributors in the Harden deal, Houston opted for a package from the Nets that was heavy on draft picks, including the 17th selection this year.

Another reported option was an offer from Philadelphia centered around Ben Simmons, but the Rockets’ front office decided Simmons wasn’t a player they wanted to build around. Instead, they made what Patrick Fertitta, son of owner Tilman Fertitta, calls a “hard and, at the time, very unpopular decision” to undergo a complete rebuild.

“There wasn’t an equally attractive alternative at the time,” general manager Rafael Stone said. “Not even close from our perspective. I am a big believer in going all-in. Whether it is to go all-in to rebuild or all-in to win a championship.”

There’s more from Houston:

  • The Rockets are sold on Jalen Green as the centerpiece of their future, but there are concerns around the league that backcourt partner Kevin Porter Jr. may not be reliable enough for a long-term commitment, MacMahon states in the same story. Porter, who is eligible for a rookie-scale extension this summer, improved as a defender and three-point shooter last season, but there are questions about whether he should be the starting point guard or a sixth man. “He is not a finished product,” Stone says. “He just turned 22. He needs to grow and improve, on and off the court, but we are excited about him and his trajectory.”
  • Houston is also facing a decision on Eric Gordon, the last veteran remaining from the Harden era, MacMahon adds. The 33-year-old guard could be moved if the Rockets get a first-round pick in return, but the front office likes having him around to mentor the young players. “It’s a tough situation,” Gordon said. “When you’re doing a rebuild, it’s a long-term type thing. Guys have to know that this is a long-term plan. If it’s a long-term plan for these young guys, then I have to know there’s a long-term plan for me, too.”
  • MarJon Beauchamp remembers when the Rockets were the only team to send a scout to watch him play at Yakima Valley College, per Kelly Iko of The Athletic. Beauchamp worked out for Houston a few weeks ago and appears to be a candidate to be selected at No. 17 or 26.

Rockets Rumors: Martin, Banchero, Porter, Tate, Schröder, Hollins

Rockets forward Kenyon Martin Jr. recently spoke to team management about the possibility of a trade, according to Kelly Iko of The Athletic. Iko describes the conversation as a “candid” one and stresses that there’s no bad blood between Martin and the team. However, with Martin’s place in Houston’s long-term plans uncertain, he may prefer to be sent to a club that can give him a clearer path to rotation minutes.

A second-round pick in 2020, Martin has appeared in 124 games across two seasons with the Rockets, averaging 9.0 PPG and 4.3 RPG on .524/.360/.667 shooting in 22.0 minutes per contest.

Sources tell Iko that a number of teams – including some playoff contenders – have expressed interest in Martin in the past. He’s still just 21 years old, and his athleticism and possible untapped potential make him an intriguing target for potential suitors, Iko adds.

Here’s more on the Rockets:

  • All signs continue to point to Paolo Banchero being the most likely pick for the Rockets at No. 3, per Iko. While Houston has received some inquiries on that pick, any talks have been exploratory at best, and the Rockets aren’t looking to trade down from No. 3, sources tell The Athletic.
  • The Rockets’ other two first-round picks (No. 17 and No. 26) are viewed as more available, with No. 17 in particular drawing interest from some teams that don’t have a first-rounder, Iko writes. While either pick – or both – could be traded, Iko isn’t necessarily counting on anything happening until draft night, as teams see how the draft plays out and get a better idea of which players will still be on the board at those spots.
  • Kevin Porter Jr. and Jae’Sean Tate will be eligible for extensions this offseason, and representatives for both players have already been in touch with the Rockets to inquire about beginning those discussions, according to Iko. The deadline for Porter’s rookie scale extension is the last day of the 2022 offseason, whereas Tate could sign a veteran extension during the 2022/23 season. Houston would like to retain both players beyond their current contracts, says Iko.
  • Although Dennis Schröder is well-liked in Houston, he’s expected to end up with a new team for 2022/23, sources tell Iko. Schröder is an unrestricted free agent this summer.
  • Lionel Hollins is among the veteran coaches who has emerged as a candidate to join Stephen Silas‘ staff as an assistant, Iko reports.

Rockets Notes: No. 3 Pick, Lottery, Hornacek, Weaver

Having snagged the third overall pick in the 2022 NBA draft, the Rockets are in good position to add one of the best prospects in this year’s class without having to worry too much about that player’s fit alongside last year’s No. 2 pick Jalen Green.

As Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle writes, big men Chet Holmgren, Jabari Smith, Paolo Banchero are widely considered to be this year’s top three prospects and don’t overlap positionally at all with Green. All three have been mentioned in the conversation for the No. 1 pick and are different from the frontcourt players on Houston’s current roster, Feigen adds.

Still, general manager Rafael Stone isn’t closing the door on the possibility that the Rockets could make a trade involving that No. 3 pick.

“There’s going to be a really good player available at three,” Stone said, per Feigen. “It’s on us to make sure we pick him, assuming we pick it. Nobody ever believes me, but that’s always in the cards: that it might make more sense for us to trade it.”

Here’s more out of Houston:

  • Within that same Houston Chronicle story, Feigen also takes a behind-the-scenes look at the experience Rockets general counsel Clay Allen had in the lottery drawing room on Tuesday. Allen was pleased with the end result, expressing relief that the team didn’t slip to No. 4 or No. 5. “The whole day was nerve-wracking,” he said.
  • Rockets assistant coaches Jeff Hornacek and Will Weaver won’t be returning to the coaching staff for the 2022/23 season, reports Mark Berman of Fox 26 Houston (Twitter link). Both Hornacek and Weaver were hired as part of Stephen Silas‘ initial group of assistants in the fall of 2020.
  • According to Kelly Iko of The Athletic, “early intel” points to the Rockets hanging onto the No. 17 pick, even though it’s their second first-round pick this year and their sixth in the last two years. However, Iko expects that selection to draw interest from rival teams.
  • Jalen Green, Kevin Porter Jr., and Josh Christopher were among the players in attendance last week when the Rockets held an informal workout at their facility, only about a month after their season ended, Iko writes in the same story.

Rockets Notes: Wall, Porter, Offseason, Silas

John Wall ended up sitting out the entire 2021/22 season, as the Rockets‘ front office was unable to find a trade it liked involving the veteran point guard. However, general manager Rafael Stone is confident that won’t be the case again in 2022/23 as Wall enters the final year of a contract that will pay him more than $47MM next season.

“I think there’s a real market for John,” Stone said on Monday, per Kristie Rieken of The Associated Press. “I think we’ll find a deal that will work for him and for us, and if one doesn’t materialize, we’ll we’ll cross that bridge (of a possible buyout) if and when it occurs. But that that is not something he’s focused on, and is not something I’m focused on.”

While it’s possible there could be a small handful of teams interested in discussing a deal for Wall, the Rockets will be hard-pressed to get anything of value for him — even with just one year left on his contract, the 31-year-old has negative trade value due to his exorbitant cap hit.

Here’s more on the Rockets:

  • Rockets point guard Kevin Porter Jr., who will be eligible for a rookie scale extension this offseason, admitted he was thinking about his contract situation earlier in the 2021/22 season and believes it negatively impacted his play, as Danielle Lerner of The Houston Chronicle relays. “At the beginning of the season, I kind of put too much pressure on myself thinking about that type of thing,” Porter said. “Once I eased my mind off of it, I started to play better. So I don’t really want to put no mind to it. I love Houston, and they love me, so I’m sure that I’ll be here for a minute.”
  • The Rockets posted an NBA-worst record of 20-62 in 2021/22, but both Stone and head coach Stephen Silas believe the team’s young players improved over the course of the year. Although Silas acknowledged that Houston will still have a young team next season and won’t become a contender overnight, he suggested on Monday that his expectations will be higher. “We really started at zero this year with a lot of guys,” Silas said, according to Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. “So getting to the point where we played an 82-game season with these guys and their roles will be similar next year … we’ll still be starting at a much higher place than we were this season as far as understanding. (The Rockets will not be) so bland on both ends of the floor because there’ll be a much higher level of understanding when it comes to the young guys.”
  • In a separate story for The Houston Chronicle, Feigen explores a number of offseason questions facing the Rockets, including whether Porter will be extended, what the team will do in the draft, and what will happen with Wall and some other veteran trade candidates on the roster. Feigen adds that Houston intends to bring back Silas for 2022/23, though he and the front office will have to be sure they remain on the same page with the rebuilding plan going forward.

Rockets Rumors: Wall, Wood, Tate, Porter, Green

While there was never any real doubt, Michael Scotto of HoopsHype confirms that Rockets guard John Wall is going to exercise his player option for the 2022/23 season. That option is worth approximately $47.4MM, which is far more than Wall could realistically expect to earn next season if he were to opt out of his deal to become a free agent.

The Rockets were unable to work out a trade involving Wall last offseason or during the 2021/22 season, but will try again this summer, according to Scotto, who says Wall’s reps at Klutch Sports would likely engage in buyout talks with Houston if the club still can’t find a viable trade. Wall’s preference would be to have a role on a winning team, Scotto adds.

Here’s more on the Rockets:

  • Appearing on the HoopsHype podcast with Scotto, Ben DuBose of Rockets Wire said he gets the sense from conversations with people around the league that there are still some off-court concerns with Christian Wood. The big man might be a better fit in a contender’s locker room with a clear veteran star and leader in place, per DuBose.
  • Also on the HoopsHype podcast, Scotto noted that the Rockets are prioritizing cap room for 2023, which means that they may prefer to wait to lock up players like Jae’Sean Tate and Kevin Porter, who will be extension-eligible this offseason and could be long-term pieces.
  • Jalen Green got off to a slow start this season, but his strong second-half play – including an ongoing streak of five straight games with 30+ points – bodes well for the Rockets’ rebuild, according to Kelly Iko of The Athletic, who says there should be “no denying his status or stature” going forward.
  • In an Insider-only article for, Bobby Marks previewed the Rockets’ offseason, touching on Porter’s case for an extension, Wall’s status, and what the team will do with Wood and Eric Gordon, among other topics.
  • Within his own look ahead to the Rockets’ offseason at The Athletic, Iko says he’d be surprised if Wood is still with the team after next season’s trade deadline and suggests a team-friendly extension for Porter could be in the range of $10-14MM per year.
  • In case you missed it, Rockets two-way player Trevelin Queen was named the G League MVP for 2021/22.

Rockets Notes: Green, Garuba, Draft, Porter

Jalen Green has been showing off the scoring ability that convinced the Rockets to take him with the No. 2 pick in last year’s draft, writes Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. When Houston decided this week to hold out its veterans, possibly for the rest of the season, Green began to focus on getting the shots he wanted. The result has been three straight 30-point games, including a career-best 33 Friday night.

“He’s a shot maker,” coach Stephen Silas said. “He can get to the rim. He can get to the free throw line. He can shoot the mid-range. Just kind of happy for him that the work he puts in translates and he can be further confirmed that he’s really good by working and producing and working more and producing more.”

Green became a starter right away, but it took him a while to adjust to the NBA, Feigen notes. He shot just 37.7% from the field and 28.4% from three-point range for the first part of the season, but since turning 20 on February 9 those numbers have improved to 46.5% and 40%. Green believes he benefited from participating in the Rising Stars event at All-Star Weekend.

“All-Star was just a confidence builder, being in that atmosphere, playing in that,” he said. “On top of that, me and (assistant coach John Lucas) being in the gym working, all the time. Just trusting my work.”

There’s more from Houston:

  • Fellow rookie Usman Garuba had to wait much longer for his first NBA start, which happened Wednesday, Feigen adds in a separate story. The 23rd pick last year battled through a thigh bruise, a fractured wrist, an ankle injury and COVID-19, which have limited him to 20 total games. “It is very important for him to feel good about his position on this team, his worth for our group,” Silas said. “He’s talented and he hasn’t really gotten a chance this year. We have such high hopes for him and we’re so positive about him, but he needs to feel it as well. I think having the actual game experience will help him with that.”
  • Auburn’s Jabari Smith would be the best fit for the Rockets in the draft, according to Kelly Iko of The Athletic. Iko sees Smith’s size, shooting and defensive abilities as a perfect fit for Houston’s current roster and says questions about his playmaking won’t be a concern with Green and Kevin Porter Jr. handling those duties.
  • Iko expects Porter to remain the team’s point guard unless the Rockets land the fourth or fifth pick and draft Purdue’s Jaden Ivey. Porter will be eligible for a rookie scale extension this summer.

Texas Notes: Porter, Rockets, Bullock, Murray

Rockets starting point guard Kevin Porter Jr. hopes to carve out his own path at the position, writes Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. Feigen notes that Houston is content to see Porter act as something of a score-first point guard, though he has grown as a passer.

“We’re in 2022,” Porter said, in reference to how his play is reflective of the position’s evolution. “I think (Stephen) Curry, he got the ‘traditional point guard’ label out. Since Steph, I don’t think there’s been like a traditional point guard moving forward, except for CP (Chris Paul) and (others) that have been already. I see myself definitely as a point guard, especially for this team. I want to be a point guard for the rest of my career.”

Porter is averaging 14.1 PPG, 6.0 APG and 4.1 RPG for the Rockets this season.

There’s more out of the Lone Star State:

  • The rebuilding Rockets are primed to add some blue-chip talent to their young roster in the 2022 draft. Kelly Iko and Sam Vecenie of The Athletic examine how several top projected lottery picks could fit Houston, including 7’1″ Gonzaga big man Chet Holmgren, Auburn forward Jabari Smith, Duke forward Paolo Banchero, Purdue guard Jaden Ivey, Iowa forward Keegan Murray, and Duke wing A.J. Griffin. Iko and Vecenie think it would behoove Houston to not necessarily think too much about positional overlap – particularly with incumbent starting center Christian Wood or point guard Kevin Porter Jr. – when considering draft prospects.
  • Veteran Mavericks shooting guard Reggie Bullock is back with Dallas following a three-game absence due to personal reasons, per Tim MacMahon of ESPN (Twitter link). Bullock in the first of a three-year, $30.5MM contract he signed with the Mavericks last summer, has seen his role reduced a little for a 43-28 Dallas team with serious playoff aspirations. After being a starter for the majority of the time since a 2017/18 NBA season spent with the Pistons, the 31-year-old out of North Carolina has toggled between the starting lineup and the bench for Dallas this year.
  • Given Spurs guard Dejounte Murray‘s own history with serious injuries (he tore his ACL in 2018), he has recently been reaching out to other NBA players dealing with their own difficult injury rehabs, writes Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News. Murray has talked to Warriors wing Klay Thompson, who has just returned this season after suffering ACL and Achilles tears in consecutive years, as well as Nuggets guard Jamal Murray, who continues to work his way back from a torn left ACL.

Rockets Notes: Porter, Silas, Christopher, Brooks

The Rockets‘ young backcourt hasn’t produced many wins this season, but Kevin Porter Jr. believes he and Jalen Green have a bright future, writes Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. Porter is in his first full season as a point guard after learning the position after being acquired from the Cavaliers last year. Green, the No. 2 pick in the 2021 draft, has endured an up-and-down rookie season, but has been producing points lately at a much more efficient rate.

“We need momentum going into next year,” Porter said. “Finishing off the season — not even (for) next year — finishing off the season, we want to finish the right way. … We want to take it real serious and try to win each and every game. We’re going to try to jell, me and J’s chemistry on the court, because next year we’ve got to be scary. We’re going to be scary.”

Porter had to leave Friday’s game at Orlando after rolling his left ankle in the third quarter, but coach Stephen Silas said it’s just a routine sprain, according to Danielle Lerner of The Houston Chronicle. Porter was held out of practice today to receive treatment and will be a game-time decision on Sunday.

There’s more on the Rockets:

  • With his team well out of the playoff race, Silas will focus on improving the defense over the rest of the regular season, per Kelly Iko of The Athletic. The Rockets rank 29th in the league in points allowed in the paint and are the worst in the league by far in that statistic since the start of January. “I might try a few new things,” Silas said. “But it has been the rim, the restricted area, where teams are getting to the restricted area and shooting 60-something percent at the rim. So our rim protection has to be better, which means our bigger guys are lower and closer to the rim. That’s something that I’m going to be be toying around with.”
  • One pleasant surprise this season has been the emergence of rookie guard Josh Christopher, Iko adds. Even though Christopher only plays 16.5 minutes per night, the Rockets have been 5.8 points better when he’s on the court. Iko sees him developing into a valuable role player in Houston, possibly as a smaller version of Danuel House.
  • Armoni Brooks, who was waived to accommodate a three-for-one trade with the Celtics at the deadline, has joined the College Park Skyhawks in the G League, Iko tweets. He adds that Brooks declined several two-way contract offers and may still have a future with the Rockets.

Southwest Notes: Rockets, Brunson, Finney-Smith, Grizzlies, Hayes

The Cavaliers team that Houston defeated on Wednesday has provided a blueprint for the Rockets to follow as they go through their own rebuild, writes Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. Cleveland patiently accumulated talent while enduring seasons of 19 wins, 19 wins (again), and 22 wins, and that patience is paying off this year.

“They have a bunch of young guys, and had some rough years for sure, but stuck with those young guys,” Rockets coach Stephen Silas said on Wednesday, per Feigen. “Those young guys were working together during the summer and going to Summer League and getting a little bit better to the point they are really having a good season led by J.B. (Bickerstaff) and the job J.B. has done and them sticking with J.B. and the organization being super solid with that group. That’s what we’re looking for here.”

Asked about the Rockets, Bickerstaff acknowledged that he could see some similarities between his own team and Houston, pointing to the young backcourt of Jalen Green and Kevin Porter Jr. as a duo worth building upon.

“This group, especially being able to play with the size of those guys, they have big guards who can play different positions and score different ways,” Bickerstaff said of the Rockets. “They’re what the future of the league looks like, that size and skill.”

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • Amid speculation about whether the Mavericks will trade or re-sign a pair of 2022 free-agents-to-be, Jalen Brunson and Dorian Finney-Smith, Dalton Trigg of reached out to team owner Mark Cuban and received the following response: “We will do all we can to keep (both Brunson) and Dorian.”
  • Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News outlines how the trade exception the Mavericks created in last summer’s Josh Richardson deal could come in handy at the trade deadline.
  • With the Grizzlies firmly in control of a top-three seed in the West, Tim MacMahon of ESPN takes a deep dive into the young squad’s success and its short- and long-term goals. “Obviously, everybody’s ultimate goal is to win a championship,” All-Star point guard Ja Morant told ESPN. “We’ve just got to make sure we’re laying brick by brick each day to get better. At the end, we’ll build an empire.”
  • Playing almost exclusively at power forward, Pelicans big man Jaxson Hayes racked up 19 points on 9-of-10 shooting on Monday vs. Cleveland. The performance prompted head coach Willie Green to say after the game that jumbo lineups with Hayes alongside center Jonas Valanciunas are “something we’re definitely going to explore” more going forward, per Christian Clark of

COVID-19 Updates: Anderson, Murphy, Porter, Murray

Kyle Anderson returned to action for the Grizzlies on Saturday night after missing five games in the NBA’s health and safety protocols. While Anderson only scored four points in 23 minutes, he chipped in nine rebounds and four assists in Memphis’ 20-point win over Washington.

After dealing with a mini-outbreak of COVID-19 this month, the Grizzlies now have just one player still in the protocols. Tyus Jones, the team’s lone affected player, is listed as questionable for Monday’s game in Philadelphia, suggesting that he could be on the verge of being cleared.

Here are a few more protocol-related updates from around the NBA:

  • The Pelicans are no longer listing rookie Trey Murphy III on their injury report, signaling that he has exited the health and safety protocols and should be available on Monday vs. Cleveland. Murphy was out of New Orleans’ rotation even before he entered the protocols, having not played more than three minutes since December 28, so his return shouldn’t have a major impact on the team’s game plan.
  • Rockets guard Kevin Porter Jr. has been upgraded to questionable for Monday’s game vs. Golden State and is no longer listed in the protocols, tweets Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. Porter is dealing with an illness, but it doesn’t appear to be COVID-19.
  • Nuggets guard Jamal Murray continues to recover from left ACL surgery, but isn’t in the COVID-19 protocols anymore, per the NBA’s injury report.