On Monday, the Cleveland Cavaliers made a surprising change to their roster a change that could lead to…well, what could it lead to for Kevin Porter Jr.?
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the Cavaliers traded guard Jordan Clarkson to the Utah Jazz in exchange for Dante Exum and two second-round picks.
Clarkson was one of the Cavaliers’ best offensive weapons and could come off the bench and score at will. He averaged nearly 15 points while shooting 44 percent from the field. Clarkson came off the bench in all 29 of his games with the Cavs this season. Regardless of how the Cavs were playing, it was almost certain that Clarkson would have a solid offensive performance.
The trade came as somewhat of a shock as Clarkson had 33 points in their previous game. His performance helped the Cavs get their second consecutive win (which later become a three-game winning streak). But, the Cavs made the trade and sent Clarkson to Utah.
The move benefits the Cavs as they trade an expiring contract (in Clarkson’s $13.4 million contract) and, in turn, created a $3.83 million trade exception. Now, the Cavs have nearly $28 million in salary-cap space for free agency. The Cavs also have more draft picks to play around with, and can either use them for themselves or they can use them for other trades. The Cavs also gain another young player in Exum, who, if healthy, could help the Cavs second unit. Lastly (and possibly most importantly), the trade benefits one of the Cavs’ younger players: Kevin Porter Jr.
Porter has turned a few heads this season, as he has shown glimpses of his talent. He has shown that he is talented on the offensive end, who doesn’t mind playing defense. Porter is also as much of a willing passer as he is a defender. Porter has the tools necessary to become a special player, but he needs to gain more experience. Now, he can do just that.
In their most recent game, Porter scored 16 points. He also had four assists and shot 55.6 percent from the field. In the previous game, he scored 15 points, had nine rebounds, as well as two steals. He also shot 70 percent from the field. These games were good showing from Porter but not even his best this season.
Earlier this month, Porter scored a career high 24 points against the Houston Rockets. He shot 60 percent from the field and had three assists and three steals in the process. This was a great game from the young guard and he showed what he is truly capable of.
As a fan, I’m not fond of the Clarkson trade, but I also understand it. The move benefits the Cavaliers financially and gives them flexibility (with draft picks). And, it gives more minutes to a skilled player who I have high hopes for in Porter. So, the deal works out.
What is next for Kevin Porter Jr.? Only time will tell. But, he has more time to prove himself, and I expect him to do so.
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Image Source: Tony Dejak/Associated Press