Rockets show interest in Michael Porter Jr. for potential James Harden trade
According to Mike Singer of the Denver Post, the Houston Rockets have shown an interest in rising star Michael Porter Jr. of the Denver Nuggets as part of a potential James Harden deal. However, according to his report on Tuesday evening, these talks have not yet found any resonance.
With his first NBA contract, Porter will make just $ 3.5 million in the 2020-21 season. As such, the Nuggets would have to trade significantly more salary than Porter to close a deal for Harden ($ 41.3 million) within the league's salary cap. Singer pointed to guards Gary Harris and Will Barton as options.
The Rockets were looking for a "cornerstone young franchisee" and major draft of compensation in a deal for Harden, and the University of Missouri product could potentially meet the first part of those criteria.
While Porter was number 14 in the 2018 NBA draft, he only fell into the background of the lottery due to concerns about his back. After missing the 2018-19 season due to surgery, Porter made a healthy return for his 2019-20 rookie season, showing flashes of form that made him the nation’s best player in his high school class and a potential candidate for the number 1 overall rating in the NBA draft before the medical issues.
The versatile 6-foot-10 forward, now 22 years old, averaged 9.3 points (50.9% FG, 42.3 % with 3-pointers) and 4.7 rebounds. In the "NBA bubble" playoffs, Porter's numbers rose to 11.4 points and 6.7 rebounds in 23.7 minutes per game. He made an important contribution to a roster in Denver that reached the Western Conference finals.
It is not yet clear what kind of future draft and / or potential compensation Denver might be willing to add Porter to any potential deal for Harden. While the Nuggets aren't on Harden's preferred trading list, he's under contract for at least two more years, which is why Houston reportedly touts the entire NBA rather than limiting itself to the four teams (Brooklyn, Philadelphia, Miami, Milwaukee) of his pick.
The 2020-21 regular season is slated to begin on Wednesday evening for both the Rockets and the Nuggets. Harden and Porter are now considered healthy and play for their current teams.
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Michael Porter Jr.
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