On Tuesday, Rockets general manager Rafael Stone was able to get it done by including two second-round draft picks as part of a package landing Victor Oladipo and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl from Oklahoma City. The Thunder will immediately waive Porter.
Oladipo, however, is not ready to play basketball after suffering a torn patellar tendon during the 2023 NBA playoffs last April.
So while Oladipo’s expiring $9.5-million contract could replace most of Porter’s salary slot in future trades, the ideal scenario would be to have that salary slot filled by a player who could also help the Rockets win more games in the short-term. After all, according to Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports, “the Rockets expect to compete for the play-in tournament this spring [in the 2023-24 season].”
While Oladipo can’t be traded in combination with other players until 60 days after his acquisition by the Rockets, he could be traded immediately, if he’s the only outgoing player in the deal.
So, what might make sense for Stone and the Rockets in a deal involving Oladipo and future draft compensation? In his latest article, Fischer outlined three possibilities of at least some interest. All three are guards who play a somewhat similar role to Oladipo and the one which Porter was expected to play prior to his September arrest.
Houston has held trade discussions with Detroit regarding Alec Burks, league sources told Yahoo Sports, and the veteran ball-handler holds a $10.5 million salary that’s nearly a direct match. New Pistons head coach Monty Williams may decide to start rookie swingman Ausar Thompson and bring sophomore standout Jaden Ivey off the bench. Marcus Sasser, the No. 25 pick from this June’s draft, has also played well in preseason, and there are further minutes to spread between Joe Harris and Killian Hayes, as well as Monte Morris off the bench.
The Rockets were also in touch with Utah on deal structures that would have sent Talen Horton-Tucker to Houston, sources said. The Jazz have seen continued progress from former No. 5 pick Kris Dunn — who’s found somewhat of a resurgence in Salt Lake City — and would like to afford plenty of opportunity for 2023 first-round selection Keyonte George to handle the controls of Utah’s offense, as well.
Sources said Houston has also eyed veteran guard Malcolm Brogdon, who was traded recently to Portland in the Celtics’ acquisition of All-Star Jrue Holiday, although the Trail Blazers and Rockets have not held significant conversations. The Blazers have so far indicated they plan to keep Brogdon as part of their rebuild, and Brogdon recently refuted any notion he was looking for an exit from the franchise.
Latest @YahooSports notebook — ahead of next Monday's looming roster cuts — picks up the pieces from today's Kevin Porter Jr. trade in Houston and Oklahoma City, plus Detroit, Utah and more: https://t.co/UCszTTpqSO
— Jake Fischer (@JakeLFischer) October 17, 2023