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- Adrian Wojnarowski
Senior NBA Insider
- Master Howl Under
- With ESPN since 2017
- Tim McMahon.
- Joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009.
- He covered the Dallas Cowboys and the Dallas Mavericks.
- Appears regularly on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM
The Cleveland Riders have agreed to trade their 2019 first-round pick, Kevin Porter Jr. for a heavily protected second-round pick, sources told ESPN.
According to some sources, the pick is protected by the top 55, meaning it will likely never pass.
The Rockets will take Porter, a six-foot wing who was the 30th overall pick. The 2019 overall draft pick was made as part of a rehab project after personal issues prevented him from playing this season. Porter, 20, averaged 10.0 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.2 assists for his promising rookie season last season.
Sources told ESPN’s Brian Windhorst that the Cavaliers decided to trade Porter or give up on him after he had a verbal altercation with team officials last Friday night while attending his first game of the season. Porter was upset that his locker had been moved to an adjoining room after his old locker was given to Taurean Prince, who came on last week with Jarrett Allen as part of James Harden’s four-way swap.
Athletics reported the incident with Porter first.
Houston will release guard Chris Clemons, who has a hamstring injury, to be on Porter’s roster, according to sources.
The Cavaliers withdrew a team option on Porter’s contract last month, meaning he is owed $2.13 million for the 2021-22 season. He has another team option for $3.85 million for the 2022-23 season.
The Rockets plan to hire assistant coach John Lucas, who has helped several NBA and NFL players overcome personal challenges to pursue a successful career and works closely with Porter, one source said.
In discussions about Porter during the season, mistakes were defended. There was a plan to reintegrate him into the team despite being away from his teammates for several weeks, according to some sources. His return to the sideline shows progress in that regard, Coach J.B. Bickerstaff told reporters Friday.
Obviously, seeing what we do, experiencing games and things like that will help him when he comes back, Mr. Bickerstaff said. We have a plan with the KP. He has always been part of the team, but we wanted him to be with the boys.
Bickerstaff said Monday that the organization has done everything in its power to help Porter.
We all want Kevin to succeed, and that’s how I always feel, so whatever happens to him in the future, I hope for nothing but the best for him, Bickerstaff said. Part of our responsibility as coaches is to give it our all and try to make the most of every situation, and I can say we did.
Porter was born on the 15th. November arrested after a late night accident in which he ran over his Mercedes SUV. He admitted to drinking earlier in the evening and when police searched the car, they found a loaded gun and a small amount of marijuana in the glove compartment.
A grand jury refused to indict Porter on a weapons charge after he was able to prove he didn’t know the gun was in the car. Police have also determined that he was not injured in the accident. The judge dismissed the misdemeanor charge.
In October, Porter sounded the alarm by displaying a black square on Instagram with the message Have you ever wished you could see the end of your time? After representatives from the Cavs and teammates came forward, Porter deleted his Instagram account.
He then posted a message on Twitter saying, among other things, that I was fine. I’ve been through worse, it can’t be worse than what I’ve been through. With love and gratitude. This message was subsequently deleted as well.
The Cavs were switched until Porter was drafted. Although he is considered one of the most talented players in the draft, Porter slipped into the squad after a difficult first year at USC, where he was suspended at one point due to conduct issues.
Brian Windhorst of ESPN contributed to this report.
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