Cavs’ Altman on Porter Jr.: ‘I think the change of scenery was needed for both parties’

Former Cavs guard Kevin Porter Jr. was supposed to be one of the key pieces for Cleveland this season. The former 2019 first-round pick showed a lot of promise for the Cavs and averaged 10.0 points per game as a rookie. Cleveland hoped he would take that next step in Year two. 

However, last November, Porter was arrested and charged with improper handling of a firearm in a motor vehicle after he was involved in a car accident in Ohio. Ultimately, the charge was dismissed, and Porter plead guilty to a lesser charge. 

Porter, who was away from the Cavs due to personal reasons to start the season, would finally join the team in January, but it was not for long.

According to The Athletic, Porter grew angry when he entered the locker room and realized the team gave his old locker to Taurean Prince, who was acquired in a trade Wednesday. Sources said Porter, whose locker was moved to the wall where the younger, end-of-bench players reside, began yelling and at one point threw food. General manager Koby Altman came into the locker room and confronted Porter, and the player remained combative with Altman.

The 21-year-old Porter would eventually be traded to the Rockets in late January for a second- round draft pick. 

On Friday, Cavs GM Koby Altman discussed what happened with Porter in Cleveland. 

“It was challenging; it was a very difficult decision that we had to make,” Altman said at an end of the year Zoom conference. “A lot of it I’m going to keep private. Obviously, I’m not going to go too deep into the weeds. It wasn’t for a lack of effort from both parties. We spent a lot of time, a lot of resources trying to make it work, trying to reingratiate him to the team…

“I think the change of scenery was needed for both parties. We wish him nothing but the best in Houston. I know him personally. We scouted him extensively. I knew some of the background when we took him, and it was a calculated risk, and it didn’t work out.”

Porter played well in Houston, including scoring a career-high 50 points against the Bucks in April. In 23 games with Houston, Porter averaged 16.7 points, 6.4 assists, and 3.9 rebounds per contest. He seems to be a piece that the Rockets will build with next season. 

It would have been nice to keep Porter in Cleveland, but it does appear the Cavaliers did everything in their power to make it work, and unfortunately, things did not go their way. However, if Porter continues to get better, he could be the one that got away.

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