Cleveland’s decision to trade the talented young guard Kevin Porter Jr. has been harshly criticized. Porter had some off the court issues that called for concern. The Cavs decided to trade Porter after he had an outburst in which he reportedly threw food at the general manager Koby Altman.
For Porter, the Cavaliers only received a future second-round pick from the Houston Rockets. Of course, Porter did not fetch much value due to his off the court problems. Porter was a former first-round pick and averaged 10 points per game in his rookie season in Cleveland. Clearly, he was developing into a key player for the Cavaliers. After seeing Porter’s production in Houston, this trade was the wrong decision and hurt the Cavs’ rebuild process.
Initially, the Rockets placed Porter on their G League team the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. In the G League, Porter utterly dominated the competition averaging over 24 points over a 15 game span. Further, he averaged 7.3 assists, 6.4 rebounds and 1.6 steals with the Vipers.
Obviously, Porter proved he was good to go for the NBA. In turn, the Rockets brought Porter back up to the NBA. In 14 games with the Rockets, the talented guard is scoring 15.5 points per game while shooting 44%. Porter has poured in 20+ points in six of his 15 games in Houston.
Clearly, the Rockets are very happy with Porter’s production so far. Porter still appears to be a future star in the NBA.
Rebuild Takes a Step Back
For Cleveland, giving up Porter’s talent for only a second-rounder is a huge blow. In addition, the Cavs traded up in the 2019 NBA Draft to select Porter. To acquire the No.30 pick in the draft, the Cavaliers traded four second-round picks and cash compensation. All they got back for Porter was one second-rounder. Cleveland lost a lot of picks in the whole Porter ordeal.
The Cavaliers paid a big price for the right to draft Kevin Porter at No. 30: four second round picks and $5 million, league sources tell ESPN. Cleveland clearly was committed to getting Porter.
— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) June 21, 2019
On top of this, all season the Cavs have struggled with guard depth. Even when Porter was with Cleveland before the trade, he was not playing due to off the court concerns. The immediate impact of losing Porter has been a huge loss on the offensive end and a decrease in bench production.
Furthermore, looking at what could have been in regards to Cleveland’s guards is tough. Collin Sexton has obviously been huge this season for the Cavs scoring over 23 points per game. Also, Darius Garland has improved a lot in his second season averaging 16.7 points and 5.9 assists. Garland also had a career-high of 37 points in Monday night’s win against the Spurs. With Sexton and Garland, the Cavaliers have a very exciting young backcourt. If Porter was still apart of Cleveland’s future, they would have one of the NBA’s best group of guards right now and going forward.
How to Recover
The Cavaliers rebuild has taken a hit after trading Porter. How will they bounce back after losing such a great young asset like Porter? Cleveland is not an attractive free agent destination. As they have done, the Cavs have to get their rebuild done through drafting and trading.
One area that made the Porter trade hurt less was acquiring their center of the future in Jarrett Allen. Also, the rookie forward Isaac Okoro is starting to slowly emerge in the second half of the 2020-21 NBA season. Going forward, the Cavs must continue to draft well and get good value in trades. The scar left by losing Porter can be almost forgotten if Cleveland has a good draft in the upcoming 2021 NBA Draft.
All stats courtesy of ESPN and Basketball-Reference