Could the Portland Trail Blazers and Kevin Porter Jr. save each other?
For every ounce of talent that Kevin Porter Jr. has, he carries an equal amount of negatives. After a promising start to his career with the Cleveland Cavaliers, KPJ was traded to the Houston Rockets for a heavily protected second-round pick, following some locker room drama. Considering that he was a first-round selection just the year prior, that transaction should say everything that needs to be known about his off-court issues.
KPJ found himself back in the headlines for all of the wrong reasons after he abruptly left a game at halftime, following a spat with Assistant Coach John Lucas.
Porter Jr.’s had his fair share of ups-and-downs with the Rockets, and while they haven’t reportedly made him available yet, Houston’s brass has to be considering it, given his off-court troubles.
If the Rockets do end up putting KPJ on the trade block, the Portland Trail Blazers should at least discuss bringing him in.
Pros of trading for Kevin Porter Jr.:
- Youth and athleticism: The Portland Trail Blazers are severely lacking in both of these categories. Porter Jr. can contribute immediately and can still develop internally to further support Damian Lillard down the line.
- Perimeter defense: While he’s not necessarily known as a lockdown defender, KPJ has the size and athleticism necessary to become a versatile stopper. Regardless of his development, his stature and quickness alone would make him one of the best options to guard opposing wings on the Trail Blazers.
- Slashing playmaker: Not only does KPJ play wing — an extremely shallow position on Portland’s depth chart — he’s also a point forward who constantly threatens the rim. The Trail Blazers desperately need someone who can fill both of those categories.
- High upside and low-cost: Porter Jr. presents Portland a chance to nab a high-upside player with an affordable price tag. Considering the Trail Blazers’ lack of assets, KPJ might be one of the best options available to them.
Cons of trading for Kevin Porter Jr.:
- High risk: While the Portland Trail Blazers might not have to give up much to acquire him, there’s still a chance that they lose the trade. After all, something is better than nothing — and KPJ could certainly turn out to be nothing.
- Locker room cancer: Portland doesn’t exactly have the healthiest locker room right now. Adding Kevin Porter Jr. to an already disheveled group of talent might prove to be the spark that sets off the time bomb that’s been ticking since the beginning of the season.
Despite all of the potential negatives that Porter Jr. could bring with him to Portland, acquiring him is exactly the type of move that Cronin needs to pull — a high upside gamble that he can manage with the small number of chips he has to play.
If the Trail Blazers can trade him for an expiring contract and a second-rounder, they should pull the trigger.