The writing was on the wall for Kevin Porter Jr.’s inevitable exit with the Cleveland Cavaliers following reports of his violent outburst inside the team’s locker room earlier this week. The temperamental 20-year-old guard, who has not played in the 2020-21 season so far, was reportedly livid that the team gave out his old locker to new Cavs acquisition Taurean Prince (more on this later).
Cavs GM Koby Altman acted quickly on Thursday and shipped the troubled sophomore to the Houston Rockets in exchange for a future protected second-round pick. Thus, effectively putting an end to his tumultuous stint in The Land. Porter Jr. actually showed some promise in his rookie season last year, putting up 10.0 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 2.2 assists, while shooting 44.2 percent from the floor and 33.5 percent from 3-point range in 50 games.
Just to be clear, the Cavs understood the risks when they took a major chance on him in the 2019 Draft. He was picked 30th overall by the Milwaukee Bucks but his rights were traded to the Detroit Pistons. Enamored by Porter’s ceiling, the Cavs agreed to send four second-round draft picks to the Pistons to acquire him.
Kevin Porter Jr.’s sheer talent alone should have made him a lottery choice, but his questionable character made him slip all the way to the final pick of the first round. It’s a shame how things turned out considering the Cavs gave him the benefit of the doubt despite all the alarming red flags that came with his name.
The Cavs ultimately decided that he is not worth the headache and gave up on the talented but volatile winger. In the event that they couldn’t find a suitor, the Cavs were reportedly willing to release Porter from his contract just to be rid of him.
After all, the team gave him all the support he needed and even let a lot of concerning things slide just to make their relationship work. Now that Kevin Porter Jr. is out of Cleveland, let’s have a look at his troubled history that led to his trade to Houston.
Conduct issues with USC
Even before he stepped foot in the NBA, Kevin Porter Jr. was already making headlines for the wrong reasons. Back in January 2019, the USC Trojans elected to suspend the 6-foot-4 guard indefinitely and was barred to suit up in a game against Oregon. The USC brass refused to further delve into the matter, citing that Porter was sanctioned for “personal conduct issues.”
There were even reports that the program was strongly considering kicking Porter off the team due to his off-court behavior. Porter eventually finished his one-and-done stint with the Trojans and applied for the NBA.
Troubling social media posts
KPJ’s mental health became a hot topic back in October after he posted a series of worrying messages on his Instagram stories. His followers feared the Cavs young player was suicidal after he wrote a cryptic post that read: “You ever wish to see the end of your time?”.
Cavaliers GM Koby Altman and head coach J.B. Bickerstaff immediately checked on Kevin Porter Jr. after the incident and made sure he was doing all right. The USC alum sent out a follow-up tweet, blaming the media for sensationalizing his post.
“Media is the [worst]. … appreciate you for the prayers & concerns but it ain’t that. I’m fine. Been thru my worse times already, can’t get worse than what I already been thru. Love & Thank you,” he wrote.
Car crash and gun charges
Less than a month after his cryptic message, Porter Jr. was involved in a scary single-car accident when he flipped his Mercedes SUV in an interstate southeast of Cleveland. Judging by the extensive damage to his car, Porter Jr. was extremely lucky to have come out unscathed from the accident.
While police believed he was not under the influence at the time of the incident, they did recover a loaded .45-caliber handgun and a small amount of marijuana inside the vehicle.
“We are aware of the situation involving Kevin Porter Jr. and are in the process of gathering information. We have spoken with Kevin and will continue to address this privately with him as the related process evolves,” the Cavs said in a statement at the time.
The Mahoning County police charged the NBA player on a felony gun charge for improper handling of a firearm, marijuana possession, and misdemeanor charges of driving without a license. If convicted, KPJ could have faced possible prison time. Charges against Porter were eventually dropped, but he did admit fault for failure to control his car.
Allegedly punching a woman in the face
Shortly after Porter’s arrest in November, two women came out and accused the Cavs player and his sister of attacking them in a Cleveland apartment building back in August. Here’s the initial police report released by Cleveland.com.
“The women were in an apartment on the sixth floor of the building when Porter’s sister and a 26-year-old woman exchanged words. Porter’s sister, who is not named in the police report, punched the woman in the face, according to police.
The woman’s 19-year-old friend told police that Porter ripped out her hair weave and punched her on the left side of her face, according to police. A witness told police the punch knocked the woman against a refrigerator.”
The Cavs did not release a statement about Porter’s alleged involvement in the attack and charges were filed.
“There is no truth to this allegation which is why the allegation has led nowhere,” KPJ’s lawyer, Alex Spiro, said.
Food throwing incident
The final straw that broke the camel’s back was Kevin Porter Jr.’s confrontation with Cavs GM Koby Altman. By now, we all know how a simple locker gaffe turned ugly for the Cavs.
It’s not like the team totally left Porter without a spot, as he was simply asked to move to the wall where the younger, bench players reside. He didn’t appreciate that one bit, as he began cursing at the Cavs executive and even threw food at one point. The situation got so out of hand that KPJ was reportedly heard yelling “modern-day slavery” during his rampage.
Porter was actually set to make his debut for the Cavs this season after being told to spend time away from the team due to his off-court issues. That never materialized, as his time in Cleveland has officially come to a close. Hopefully, he can get his act together and start fresh in Houston.