The Cleveland Cavaliers are a young team but have shown promise of what they could become early this season. Led by J.B. Bickerstaff, the Cavs are changing the culture surrounding the organization. Kevin Porter Jr. hasn’t been with the team for most of the season, but he was with the Cavs Friday against the Knicks.
Porter has had some character issues throughout his basketball career, which has hampered his growth as a player. The Cavs have been patient with Porter Jr., but this recent incident involving their first-round pick has pushed Cleveland over the edge.
Kevin Porter Jr. has had a challenging basketball career
Kevin Porter Jr. was one of the most talented NBA prospects coming out of college. He showed flashes of his potential at USC, playing in 21 games and averaging 9.5 points a game on over 50% shooting, per Sports Reference. His draft stock slid because of character issues at USC. The team suspended him during his lone season there because of personal conduct issues.
The Cavs traded up in the 2019 draft to get Porter Jr., selecting him with the No. 30 overall pick. He put together an impressive rookie campaign, averaging 10 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 2.2 assists, per ESPN. He only played in 50 games but showed glimpses of his talent.
Porter has had some off the court issues that have raised some concerns. In November of 2020, he was arrested after crashing his SUV in the middle of the night. He had a loaded handgun and a small amount of marijuana in the vehicle. A grand jury didn’t indict him on a felony weapons charge, and the judge dropped the misdemeanor marijuana charge.
He also posted some alarming messages on social media. In October, he posted on his now-deleted Instagram account, “have you ever wanted to see the end of time?” He posted a tweet on Twitter shortly after saying, “I’m fine. Been thru my worse times already, can’t get worse than what I already been thru. Love & Thank you.”
The Cavs reached out to Porter after these messages. This might’ve been why he has been away from the team for quite some time. After joining Cleveland recently, he got involved in an incident that just ended his career as a Cavalier.
Kevin Porter Jr. won’t be playing for the Cavaliers anymore
The Cavaliers welcomed Kevin Porter Jr. back to the team on Friday before their game against the New York Knicks. The plan was for Porter to gradually reintegrate himself with the team, according to Bickerstaff.
“We have a plan in place with KP. He’s always been a part of the team, but we wanted him with the guys,” said Bickerstaff per ESPN.
However, Porter Jr. didn’t even get past the locker without started trouble. He got into a shouting match with team officials because the Cavs moved his locker. The team moved it to an auxiliary area because it had to make room for two new players. Taurean Prince and Jarrett Allen joined the Cavs because of the James Harden trade.
Porter Jr. was told to clean out his locker after the shouting match. Other players on the roster were told Porter would not be on the roster anymore. The team is going to try to trade Porter Jr., wanting to get some kind of return. If there is no trade partner, the Cavaliers are planning to waive him. The Athletic first reported this story
Who would take a chance on Kevin Porter Jr.?
With his time in Cleveland coming to an end, Kevin Porter Jr. must look for a new team to play for. He is very young, only being 20-years old. He has the talent and ability to become a great NBA player. However, it seems the former first-rounder isn’t there in terms of maturity yet to take the next step in his career.
Are teams going to want to bring in Porter Jr? The past few months have been challenging for him, and he might need to take the rest of this season to get right mentally. Franchises don’t want to deal with distractions during a season, and Porter Jr. seems to be a distraction early in his NBA career. Sitting out the rest of the season so he can get right might seem like a sacrifice, but it will pay off in the long run.
There haven’t any teams with reported interest in the second-year player. What will be the Cavs asking price for Porter Jr.? They can’t expect much, given he has a small sample size of NBA experience. He is talented, but that talent hasn’t fully translated to on-court success. If a team does take a chance on Porter Jr., they better have an exceptional development program to help him grow and mature as a person and player.