Can KJ Martin support Houston with buying and selling up into the draft lottery?

On Monday, shocking information got here out relating to the Houston Rockets that dominated the workforce’s headlines for the day. It had nothing to do with their upcoming choice at No. 3 general in Thursday’s NBA draft or the Christian Wooden blockbuster commerce from final week. The information additionally had nothing to do with the crux of their younger core in Jalen Inexperienced, Kevin Porter Jr., and Alperen Sengun. Nonetheless, it mattered all the identical.

KJ Martin, Houston’s second-round choice from the 2020 draft and son of Kenyon Martin Sr., reportedly approached the entrance workplace relating to a possible commerce. That is all throughout the context of the probably choice of both Duke’s Paolo Banchero or Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren this week, with both prone to eat into the obtainable frontcourt minutes.

It is a considerably gorgeous growth for a workforce that took an opportunity on Martin when no one else did and had watched him flourish, albeit in a restricted capability, throughout his first two years within the league. Clearly, after averaging 21 minutes in 79 video games final 12 months, Martin believes that he is worthy of an even bigger position transferring ahead — and the opportunity of that with the Rockets and their deep younger core is definitely cloudy.

This raises an necessary query: What does Houston do with Martin, as they navigate the remainder of the 2022 offseason?

They’ll at all times select to do nothing. Martin is beneath contract for 2 extra years and represents the kind of younger expertise that’s enticing to a rebuilding workforce. He does not have the star energy to pressure common supervisor Rafael Stone’s hand like James Harden as soon as did. Greater than probably, Martin would finally fall in line and attempt to break the rotation.

Martin’s father, former NBA All-Star Kenyon Martin, stated in a later interview with Mark Berman of Fox 26 Houston that his son’s focus was nonetheless on being with the Rockets and turning into a greater participant.

However throughout the context of a workforce that’s attempting to transition into extra of a profitable tradition, conserving Martin in opposition to his will will not be ultimate. That begs the query of what choices Houston might have on the commerce entrance.

At simply 21 years previous, Martin ought to have commerce suitors, and he is universally thought-about one of many higher surprises from a weak 2020 draft class. Actually, he was seen as top-of-the-line 20 gamers from his class if he it was to be re-drafted, in line with a Bleacher Report article from this 12 months.

Even so, the Rockets are unlikely to obtain important draft capital by buying and selling a participant that rival groups now know is considerably sad and carries solely a second-round standing from his unique draft. Issues may get extra fascinating, nevertheless, if taken along with Houston’s different draft picks. Moreover No. 3, the Rockets additionally at the moment personal first-round picks at No. 17 and No. 26, and Stone may angle to maneuver up a couple of spots on draft night time — ought to a extremely ranked participant fall.

Kelly Iko from the Athletic experiences that Houston is looking for athletic wings after their choice at No. 3. This may very well be a participant profile that’s simpler to focus on, ought to the Rockets purchase a late-lottery choose.

The Rockets are looking for assistance on the wings, concentrating on younger gamers who’re assured offensively and might defend a number of positions successfully.

May Houston dangle Martin, No. 17, and No. 26 to a workforce just like the Charlotte Hornets and see if they may transfer as much as No. 13 general? The draft may be very a lot thought-about a crapshoot after the highest eight or so picks, with numerous groups having totally different preferences and main variations of their massive boards. It’s possible that Stone and the Rockets may discover somebody within the late lottery that may contemplate transferring down.

By transferring up the draft board, it could be attainable to focus on a participant like Memphis’ Jalen Duran, Ohio State’s Malaki Branham, and even Baylor’s Jeremy Sochan. On this means, Martin’s seemingly unlucky disruption throughout this draft week may flip to good favor — if it permits Houston to finally find yourself with a greater 2022 prospect.

Even so, given Martin’s age, it is unlikely we see any important motion on the commerce entrance. Groups, gamers, and brokers are amicable to understanding agreements that can profit each events. If the Rockets are lifelike about Martin’s inventory his across the league, it could be greatest he performs one other season in Houston with head coach Stephen Silas.

However the different risk is definitely on the market after Monday’s information.


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