The value of Kevin Porter Jr to the Rockets entering the 2022-23 season – and beyond

What will happen Houston Rockets get along at the end Kevin Porter Jr.,

For the 22-year-old point guard, the past two seasons at Houston have been a mixed bag of ups and downs. The franchise, in the midst of a rebuild, needs to strengthen its foundation, and by all accounts, Porter looks to be a part of that.

So what does the extension actually look like? athletics The Rockets beat out writer Kelly Echo and salary-cap expert Danny Leroux discussed the issue from a variety of angles.

(Editor’s note: Content has been edited for clarity and brevity.)


Kelly Echo: Thanks for staying with me, Danny.

Kevin Porter Jr. and the Rockets are in an interesting position going into training camp and the season. It is no secret that the organization loves them and their skill set. He was evacuated from a toxic position in Cleveland, brought to Houston and asked to change positions (again, to point to the guards)—all in the midst of rebuilding.

Now it’s time to talk turkey. Porter is eligible for extension, and as per our reporting athleticBoth sides are communicating and want to do something before the 2022-23 campaign starts.

My first question to you: Is this the best situation for all parties involved? What should be taken into account?

Danny Leroux: It really depends on what each side prioritizes. I like to think of expansion as mitigating risk; For the player, this locks in the money a year ago, and for Porter in particular, it will likely be a significant increase in his current salary. For the team, you protect the player in exchange for locking them into a contract you’re happy with for years to come and avoid the possibility that you’ll end up paying a lot if that player has a strong season. .

There is a strong argument for both sides to come to the table but there is no guarantee that a compromise will happen or even is reasonably possible. Eventually, the Rockets could see a risk-reducing middle ground as well as below Porter’s salary expectations, and/or Porter could see a brighter future and only accept an expansion at a bigger figure, allowing the Rockets to Had little incentive to sign a year ago. ,

Also, the most important considerations are Porter’s established level so far, how he will perform in the future and the market for players like him and expectations with the 2022-23 campaign. It is often necessary to align on those themes in order to be and find a mutually acceptable fertile middle ground for expansion.

it’s there: We recently saw Porter’s teammate J’Sean Tate Sign a three-year $22.1 million extension, but he was not a first-round pick. Why is Porter’s qualifying offer the same as Tate’s ($4.9 million) and capped at $9.7 million? How did the league arrive at those figures? This is the “CBA for Dummies” section.

red: It is extremely important to remember that Qualifying Offer and Cap Hold are two different numbers that have different significance for the parties involved. The collective bargaining agreement sets all of these figures, and they are based on the year a player is drafted and the salary-cap number of the league in that season. A qualifying offer is one that a player has to put a team on the table for the right to match. As the 30th pick in 2019, the Rockets will currently have to offer Porter a one-year, $4.8 million contract with the ability to match an offer sheet from another team in restricted free agency. (Note: The team can refuse to make a qualifying offer, which makes the player an unrestricted free agent, but in this case that’s very likely because Porter is too talented and adept at it.) One CBA wrinkle, however. This is called the “starter criterion”, and if Porter starts 21 games or plays 2,000 minutes, the qualifying offer rises to $8.5 million. The idea is that if Porter earns enough time to beat his draft slot as the 30th pick, his team should make a strong offer to retain the rights to the match.

However, the increase in qualifying offer amounts does not affect Porter’s $9.7 million cap hold. The cap hold is a placeholder for predicting who a free agent might sign, and it sticks to whether the qualifying offer of a previous first-round pick goes based on how their first four years go. goes up or down. The only way that cap hold can change is if Porter and the Rockets agree on an extension between now and October 31, because in that case, they don’t have to anticipate what Porter will do; They will have real salary!

it’s there: Let’s go to the negotiating table. Are there any other past contracts we can look into that could set a precedent for how Porter’s negotiations will go? In two seasons as a Rocket, his overall output has been up and down, but he is a talented, young player who ended the season on a high note. His stock should be trending up, and we’ve seen players get paid based on the upside and future projections. Should this apply here as well?

red: Porter would essentially argue that he deserves starter money because he started nearly every game in each of his two seasons with the Rockets. Furthermore, he is in his early twenties, and is expected to continue to improve, so Houston finds himself a key player for his future, which is difficult to find in the open market and impossible at his age. Something along the lines of this can be asked for anferney simmons, $25 million per year, Raphael Stone, however, could easily counter that Simmons had a better 2021–22 season than any Porter season so far, and Simmons has since extended his career as a restricted free agent instead of expanding a year earlier. contract signed.

could be an interesting benchmark Kevin Huerter‘s Four-year, $65 million extension Last defeat. I’d argue that Huerter had a better first three seasons, but it was also in a more favorable aggressive ecosystem and a year more away from new TV money. Still, over $15 million a year seems tougher than a year for Porter, even if he could substantially outperform that then-restricted free agency almost a year from now. If I were in Stone’s chair, something between $10 and $13 million per year would have been perfectly acceptable, but demanding more of Porter would require asking him to prove it this season while 2023. He earns it when he is ready to pay a higher price in

it’s there: And what’s the other side? Suppose something does not materialize. What does restricted free agency look like for Porter?

red: The good news for the Rockets is that there won’t be a ton of other teams with spending power next summer with the exception of the medium tier. A lot can change between now and then, but right now, only seven franchises — including Houston — have usable space in the project, a number that typically drops over the next 10 months because of extensions and new contracts.

His problem is that most of those presumed cap-spec teams are young, and the free-agent crop looks pretty weak in terms of young inter-makers. considering that rj barreto, tyler harrow, D’Andre Hunter and Cam Johnson all cling to their current teams to either expand or match rights, Porter could be in a somewhat narrow group if a potential mover thinks the Rockets have the stomach for a great deal. Not possible. what piston, thunder, fast bowlers either Magic See Porter as an interesting talent who brings something different from his other young talents? Absolutely, and only one or two willing teams are needed to raise the price.

Still, the general rule of restricted free agency is that teams tend to fall in love with the plunge because it ties up their cap space for so long, and that leads to some extreme results such as the maximum offer to Otto Porter Jr. receiving sheet 2017 while Colin Sexton And Marcus Smart Slack despite obvious talent. My tendency is that Kevin Porter Jr. will take serious interest, but not premium, unless he makes a big step forward this season. Probably something like $8 million to $10 million as a reasonable worst case, and something like $20 million to $28 million as a best case.

Are the Rockets ready to roll those dice?

it’s there: What amount of cap space should the Rockets pay out next summer compared to the huge amount they’ll pay Porter now? A small portion of it has already been eaten up by Tate’s new deal. Does this have any rollover effect on Porter’s negotiations?

red: To me, the big balancing act is assessing potential expansion versus what Porter might find in restricted free agency. In all honesty, a cap hold of $9.7 million and whatever its first season in an expansion will be is relatively insignificant for a franchise that can generate $65 million to $70 million in cap space. Losing $5 million or even $10 million is unlikely to make any difference to the moves Stone makes next summer, even if the Rockets are the key players offseason.

(Photo: Troy Taormina / USA TODAY)

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