Report: Rockets are working to remove or replace Kevin Porter Jr. from roster

Two days after Kevin Porter Jr.’s arrest for an alleged assault and strangulation in New York, the Houston Rockets already appear to be moving on as it pertains to their roster plans for the 2023-24 season.

Per Shams Charania of The Athletic, the Rockets have contacted multiple teams to inquire about transactions involving Porter’s contract, under which he’s set to make $15.9 million this year.

“Teams that consider taking on Porter’s salary via trade would have to keep in mind the optics of taking on a player under felony assault and strangulation charges,” Charania wrote. “They would also have to weigh whether they’re receiving enough draft picks for essentially an expiring contract who they would likely waive immediately.”

Charania expands:

In deal scenarios using Porter’s contract, the Rockets would be using his salary to target a player under contract who can play immediately and help the team, league sources said.

The Rockets are keeping all options open with the future of Porter, a league source said.

The guard is not expected to attend Rockets’ training camp in early October, league sources say.

In short, general manager Rafael Stone is trying to use Porter’s $15.9-million slot for salary matching purposes in a trade. While Houston could cut Porter from its roster and/or wait for the NBA to potentially void Porter’s contract for violating its domestic violence policy (the league’s investigation is just starting), those scenarios wouldn’t give Stone any path to replace Porter on the current roster and within the rotation of new head coach Ime Udoka.

Since Houston is above the salary cap, regardless, there’s no ability to then bring in outside help to replace Porter’s expected production. He started 120 games over the past two seasons. His salary slot could also prove useful in future trade hypotheticals.

Thus, what the Rockets are attempting to do is trade draft compensation for a Porter replacement. In the process, they would be using his salary slot ($15.9 million) as the financial vehicle to make such a transaction work under the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

The question, of course, is whether another team is willing to technically trade for Porter under these circumstances — even though that team would immediately waive him. If not, as evinced by Houston’s choice to keep Porter away from training camp, it seems apparent there will be an eventual parting of ways, regardless.

At this point, it’s seems a matter of whether the Rockets can use his contract to help facilitate a trade — or if they’ll simply have to deal with losing that salary slot on their long-term books. Either way, the end game for Porter in Houston is becoming increasingly clear.

Story originally appeared on Rockets Wire