With the Houston Rockets clearly prioritizing salary cap space in 2023, any contract extension for Kevin Porter Jr. must be a team-friendly deal, as HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto reported Friday.
Porter, who turned 22 earlier this offseason, is expected to enter the fourth and final season (2022-23) of the rookie contract he signed after being selected in the first round of the 2019 NBA Draft.
While a recent report suggested Porter and the Rockets had a mutual interest in an extension, Scotto reports that Houston’s interest in such a scenario hinges on finances. His report :
Kevin Porter Jr. was recently the subject of discussions regarding a possible extension. Any extension scenario for Porter Jr. would likely require a favorable deal for the team, league sources told HoopsHype. Houston is prioritizing cap space for next summer. Considering Porter Jr.’s potential starter criteria qualifying offer would be around $8.5 million, it’s unlikely the Rockets will want to offer much more than that when they can enter restricted free agency with him next summer.
For the Rockets and general manager Rafael Stone, the critical number to watch is $9.7 million. It’s the “cap hold” – if there’s no extension – to make Porter a restricted free agent in 2023 and potentially sign him in addition to any outside additions. Because the Rockets would have Bird rights to Porter, they could go over the cap to do so, and Porter’s restricted status would allow the team to match any outside offer to retain him.
If Porter is willing to make an extension in which the starting salary is at least comparable to that cap, it might make sense for the Rockets to get a deal in place early. There wouldn’t be much downside, since Porter’s cap of $9.7 million would likely be listed, even if the team did nothing on the expansion front. Porter has already shown enough promise as a player that it’s hard to envision a scenario where the Rockets would want to let him leave the team in 2023 without compensation.
Plus, there could be a real upside, as it’s at least possible Porter’s good season in 2022-23 could push his next contract to a higher price. For Stone, this could be an opportunity to “buy on the cheap,” especially if Porter agrees to a team-friendly deal for the benefit of getting his long-term financial security a year earlier than expected.
From Porter’s perspective, while he could bet on a strong season and land a more lucrative contract a year from now, it would be perfectly understandable if he didn’t want to pass up his first opportunity to land a guaranteed long-term contract. of importance.
Ultimately, for the team, it probably comes down to the dollar figure. If Porter will take a freshman salary (in 2023-24, when any extensions go into effect) close to the $9.7 million cap, there’s not much downside to getting a deal early and eliminating any potential risk of Porter forcing his way into a much bigger deal with a solid season.
On the other hand, if Porter wants a much higher freshman number, it probably makes sense for the Rockets to wait. Houston could give him the same contract a year from now, but with much less stress on his financial flexibility, thanks to the lower cap holdback. That cap is much lower than most first-round picks because salaries are spread across draft slots and Porter was selected 30th overall in 2019.
A 6-foot-4 guard, Porter averaged 15.6 points (37.5 percent on 3-pointers), 6.2 assists and 4.4 rebounds in 31.3 minutes last season.
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The story originally appeared on Rockets Wire