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#pounditFriday, February 3, 2023

Rockets looking to extend controversial player?

Stephen Silas looking on

Nov 20, 2021; New York, New York, USA; Houston Rockets head coach Stephen Silas looks on against the New York Knicks during the first half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Rockets are taking an interesting stance with one of their more divisive players.

Kelly Iko of The Athletic reported this week that the Rockets share mutual interest with guard Kevin Porter Jr. in a contract extension before the start of the 2022-23 season. Porter, who will be entering his fourth year in the league, is currently due to become a restricted free agent next summer.

The 22-year-old Porter comes with some baggage. He created a serious spectacle last season when he ditched the team at halftime of a game after being called out by a Rockets assistant. Conduct issues also plagued Porter with his previous team, the Cleveland Cavaliers. Porter was traded by the Cavs, who drafted him in 2019, following a major locker room outburst.

But Porter’s talent on the hardwood is undeniable. He is a big point guard who plays with explosion, shot a career-high 37.5 percent from three last year, and can give you an almost guaranteed 15-5-5 per night right now.

Despite all the concerns with Porter, developing him into a star would be a notable victory for the culture of the Rockets in the post-James Harden era. It may also be important to build continuity with their young foundation of players that includes Porter, Jalen Green, Alperen Sengun, and high-lottery pick Jabari Smith Jr.

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