Basketball

Rockets nearing contract extension deadline for Kevin Porter Jr.

Do you think they’ll or won’t? The NBA’s contract extension deadline is Monday at 5 p.m. Central for Kevin Porter Jr. and the Houston Rockets, as well as for all other 2019 first-round draft picks.

Porter, who turned 22 this offseason, is about to enter the fourth and last season (2022-23) of the rookie deal he signed after being chosen by Cleveland in the 2019 first round. His contract rights were transferred to the Rockets when he was dealt to Houston in January 2021.

Porter would become a restricted free agent in the 2023 offseason even if the. Rockets don’t decide to renew his contract. So they have many options to keep him around for a while. The question is simply which option is the most financially advantageous for the organization, and. Porter’s willingness to assume the associated risk by rejecting the current offer.

Porter’s potential contract value for the Rockets is $9.7 million. The “cap hold” for making Porter a restricted free agent in 2023 and potentially signing him on top of any external additions is $9.7 million if there is no extension. Houston’s plans to create significant salary cap space in the 2023 offseason are well known, and if there is no extension, they will likely use that money to sign Porter.

Porter’s restricted status would enable the Rockets to match any outside offer and yet keep him because they hold Bird rights to him. Which would let them to go over the cap in this case.

However, it may make sense for the Rockets to close the trade quickly if. Porter is willing to sign a contract extension with a beginning salary that is at least equivalent to that cap-hold amount. Even if the organization did nothing about the extension, Porter’s cap hold of $9.7 million would probably still be on the books, so there wouldn’t be much of a disadvantage. Porter’s talent makes it unlikely that Houston would want to completely cut him off its roster in less than a year, regardless of whether he ends up being a long-term fixture at point guard or just a versatile rotation player.

In addition, there might be some actual upside because Porter’s 2022–23 season could, at the at least, increase the value of his subsequent contract. Look no farther than Jalen Brunson, who recently moved from Dallas to New York without receiving any compensation from the. Mavs after Dallas was unable to finalize an extension that allowed Brunson to play his way into a better wage bracket.

Rafael Stone, the general manager of the Rockets, may want to “buy low” on Porter during this window if Porter is open to accepting a deal that benefits the franchise. While also giving Porter his long-term financial stability a year earlier than anticipated.

From Porter’s perspective, even though he could bet on having a successful season and securing a more lucrative contract in a year, it would be reasonable for him to not want to pass up his first opportunity to secure a significant, guaranteed, long-term contract. Consider some of the off-court concerns that dominated a large portion of Porter’s early NBA career, and the case for doing so might become even stronger.

The financial amount is perhaps what matters most in the end for the team. There is no danger in concluding a deal early and preventing Porter from potentially playing his way into a much larger contract if Porter will accept a first-year salary that is close to or slightly above the $9.7 million cap hold (in 2023–24, when any extension kicks in).

However, it might make sense for the Rockets to wait if Porter wants a much higher first-year figure. Houston might offer him a comparable contract in a year, but with a reduced cap hold, which would dramatically lessen the strain on its financial freedom.

Porter, a 6-foot-6 guard, averaged 15.6 points (37.5 percent on 3-pointers) and 6.2 assists in 31.3 minutes per game the previous year. His performance in Houston’s final seven games in 2021–22 was impressive, averaging 28.7 points (48.0% FG, 40.3% on 3-pointers), 7.4 assists, and 7.3 rebounds per game.

Porter averaged 16.8 points (47.8% FG, 52.6% on 3-pointers) in 24.7 minutes of preseason play for the 2022–23 season. In the Rockets’ four exhibition games, he started all four at point guard, and they went 3-1 during that time.

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