Cavs GM on Kevin Porter Jr. trade: We feel it’s in everyone’s best interest

Former Cavaliers guard Kevin Porter Jr. drives to the basket during a game last season.

The Cleveland Cavaliers and Houston Rockets have made the Kevin Porter Jr. trade official, as each team releasing a statement announcing the deal.

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

Porter reportedly had been told by Altman to clean out his locker following an outburst last week. The Cavs intended to trade or waive him immediately after the incident inside the team’s dressing room.

In exchange for Porter, the Cavs received a top-55 protected pick from the Rockets. ESPN’s Tim MacMahon reported that the pick will most likely never be conveyed.

Trading Porter will give the Cavs an available roster spot.

Meanwhile, the Rockets are hoping assistant coach John Lucas can help in the development of Porter, as Lucas has done with many players who experienced difficulty adjusting to life as a pro.

Porter averaged 10.0 points and 3.2 rebounds, showing lots of promise last season as rookie. He was initially drafted by the Detroit Pistons with the final pick (No. 30) of the first round in 2019, but immediately traded to the Cavs. He has not appeared in a game this season.

When Porter joined the Cavs for his first training camp, USC coach Andy Enfield did not respond to repeated calls and emails from FortyEightMinutes seeking comments for a favorable story about Porter.

One opposing GM told FortyEightMinutes recently that Porter entered the 2019 draft as a “top-five talent.” He later added, “but he slid all the way to 30th, and that should tell you something.”

Another opposing GM told FortyEightMinutes last week that he would not have an interest in a trade for Porter.

“I wouldn’t want a player like that on my team,” the GM said after Porter’s reported locker-room outburst. “I don’t see how they can trade him now that the story is out. No one would give them anything (in return).”

According to The Athletic, last Friday is when the incident with Altman happened.

“Sources said Porter, whose locker was moved to the wall where younger and end-of-the-bench players reside, began yelling and at one point threw food,” The Athletic reported.

Altman then entered the locker room to try to calm the situation, to no avail, as Porter reportedly “remained combative.”

Cavs coach J.B. Bickerstaff was “shocked and disgusted” by the Porter incident, The Athletic reported.

“We all want to see Kevin be successful. I still feel that way,” Bickerstaff said earlier this week. “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.”

Along with all that, Porter was arrested following a one-car accident during the offseason. He was charged with improper handling of a firearm in a motor vehicle and misdemeanor possession of a firearm. All charges were eventually dismissed.

The 6-foot-4 shooting guard was briefly suspended early last season for bumping an official. Other than that, his first season was largely incident-free as Porter became a fan and media favorite.

Meanwhile, the Rockets have totally reshaped their roster under first-year GM Rafael Stone. Some of the bigger moves included the hiring of Stephen Silas as head coach, as well the trades of star guards Russell Westbrook and James Harden.

Porter told FortyEightMinutes last season that Harden was a player he has emulated and that the two have spent time working out together.

Now, he will be joining a lineup with veterans who are attempting to revive their careers, notably point guard John Wall, shooting guard Victor Oladipo and center DeMarcus Cousins.

The Rockets are waiving guard Chris Clemons to clear a roster spot for Porter.

About the Author

Sam Amico
Sam Amico is the founder and senior writer of FortyEight Minutes. He has covered the NBA on a full-time basis for OutKick, Sports Illustrated and FOX Sports, and has been a regular contributor to CBS Sports, the Boston Herald and NBA.com.

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