RUMOR: Rockets unsure of Kevin Porter Jr.’s future with franchise
Kevin Porter Jr has been a difficult player to evaluate during his time in the NBA. He possesses impressive talent and intriguing potential but also gets in his own way at times. The 22-year-old is now eligible for an extension and will be entering the final year of his rookie contract. The Houston Rockets have done a solid job collecting young talent to put a focus on building for the future. However, it is becoming unclear if Kevin Porter Jr is a part of this long-term plan.
ESPN reporter Tim MacMahon recently joined The Lowe Post podcast with Zach Lowe to discuss the matter. The Rockets have a great deal of young talent that is developing and McMahon eluded that he would not be surprised if Porter Jr ends up the odd man out.
ESPN’s Tim MacMahon on Kevin Porter Jr.’s contract talks with Houston
“I think there are mixed opinions internally. And, you know, frankly, externally the opinion I get most often is the Rockets should not give him an extension." https://t.co/lqvvdOe7v5
— NBACentral (@TheNBACentral) July 11, 2022
On the podcast, MacMahon continued to discuss the locker room issues that are the concerns with Kevin Porter Jr. He was suspended last season after leaving a game at halftime. The former first-round pick was also traded from the Cavs after just one season due to falling out of good graces with the organization. MacMahon also made it clear that the Rockets still like Porter Jr and they do not believe he is a “bad guy.” The belief is that the major issue is his response to adversity and the incidents have not been because of a desire to be disruptive. He went on to discuss that the franchise has concerns with his positional fit as well as his attitude.
Through three years in the NBA, Kevin Poter Jr has averaged 13.7 points, 4.7 assists, 3.9 rebounds, and 1.0 steals per game. He also has connected on 35.2% of his three-point attempts and shot a career-high 37.5% last season. The flashes that he shows are very encouraging and there is little debate about his talent. If he can continue to work on the off-court issues that cloud his play, the upside with KPJ is clear.
Overall the Rockets are in a good spot with Kevin Porter Jr. He will be entering the final year of his contract and would be wise to be on his best behavior. Following the upcoming season, they would have the opportunity to extend a qualifying offer and make him a restricted free agent. If the USC product can continue to grow up and sharpen his skills on the court he could prove to be a long-term piece. However, if he flames out the franchise have plenty of young talent that could be capable of filling his role.