The Cleveland Cavaliers have been one of the pleasant surprises of the early NBA season, as they have gotten off to a 6-7 start and seen continued positive growth from young players like Collin Sexton and Darius Garland, as well as a defensive leap from the entire team, spearheaded by the play of Larry Nance Jr.
One name missing from that list of promising young players on the Cavs is Kevin Porter Jr., who has yet to play this season due to personal reasons but recently rejoined the team to sit on the bench and seemed to be working his way back to getting on the court. Porter Jr. was arrested this offseason after a single car crash for improper handling of a firearm and marijuana possession but had all of those charges dismissed and was getting himself back into playing shape.
However, his tenure with the Cavs seems to have come to an end, as his return to the team was not as cheery as it may have seemed. According to The Athletic’s Jason Lloyd and Joe Vardon, the swingman learned that his locker had been moved to make room for new acquisition Taurean Prince to take over his old space and threw quite the tantrum at just about everyone, including the coach and GM.
Porter, 20, who has not played this season due to personal issues, grew angry when he entered the locker room and realized the team gave his old locker to Taurean Prince, who was acquired in a blockbuster trade Wednesday.
Sources said Porter, whose locker was moved to the wall where the younger, end-of-bench players reside, began yelling and at one point threw food.
Sources said general manager Koby Altman came into the locker room and confronted Porter, and the player remained combative with his boss. The Cavs spent the weekend trying to trade him.
Now, one could understand frustration with having your locker moved without being consulted, but also, yelling, throwing food, and going after the guy who makes roster decisions probably isn’t the wisest way to go about that situation. A year ago, Porter Jr. was a player Cavs fans believed could end up being one of the best of their young bunch, as he averaged 10 points and 3.2 rebounds per game as a rookie, coming on particularly strong in the second half of the season before the stoppage.
This season he’s yet to play and may not see the floor for a second season in Cleveland, and it remains to be seen what his trade value is right now given his talent mixed with this latest off court incident. As an aside, it’s nice that someone on the Cavs is carrying J.R. Smith’s legacy on by throwing food in anger.