The Houston Rockets suspended Kevin Porter Jr. and Christian Wood from Monday's game against the Philadelphia 76ers for "poor behavior," according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and Tim MacMahon.
Rockets assistant coach John Lucas called out Porter's performance and Wood's effort during halftime of Saturday's loss to the Denver Nuggets, per The Athletic's Shams Charania and Kelly Iko. Porter left Toyota Center during the second half, after he allegedly threw an object and needed to be separated from Lucas.
Wood did not start against the Nuggets, punishment for reportedly missing a scheduled daily COVID-19 test. He played eight listless first-half minutes and allegedly refused to reenter the game after halftime. One of the team's young players also challenged Wood's leadership, according to Wojnarowski and MacMahon.
"We had a spirited debate," Rockets head coach Stephen Silas told reporters during his postgame media availability. "I have certain demands of this team as far as playing hard. ... I wasn't satisfied with the effort."
Porter also served a suspension for personal conduct issues during his freshman season at USC. As a result, the lottery talent fell to the No. 30 overall pick in the 2019 draft. Following his rookie season with the Cavaliers, Porter was accused of allegedly punching a woman during a dispute in downtown Cleveland and also later arrested on felony gun and misdemeanor marijuana possession charges. He was not indicted.
A heated locker room dispute in January 2021 proved the final straw for the Cavaliers. Porter allegedly vented his frustration when the team reassigned his locker to newly acquired veteran Taurean Prince. That frustration spilled over into an argument with Cavaliers general manager Koby Altman, and a week later Altman traded Porter to the Rockets for nothing more than a heavily protected 2024 second-round pick.
The Rockets expected Lucas to be instrumental in mentoring Porter through his anger management issues.
Houston acquired Wood on a three-year, $41 million contract in a November 2020 sign-and-trade deal. He has been a productive player for the Rockets, averaging 19.1 points (on 50/36/62 shooting splits) and 10 rebounds during his tenure. Houston submitted the league's worst record last season and remains firmly in last place in the Western Conference this season, leading to speculation Wood could be traded this year.
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