In search of more playing time entering his third NBA season, reserve forward KJ Martin reportedly approached the Houston Rockets earlier this offseason about a potential trade to another team.
As of early August, it still hasn’t happened. But with the Rockets having added two highly touted first-round rookie forwards in the 2022 draft, Jabari Smith Jr. and Tari Eason, the underlying calculus certainly hasn’t changed. If anything, the path to rotation minutes for the 21-year-old is suddenly even more difficult.
Thus, the underlying dynamics haven’t changed. Here’s what HoopsHype league insider Michael Scotto reported Friday:
Another Rockets player teams are monitoring on the trade market is KJ Martin, who has drawn interest following a reported trade request from Houston, according to The Athletic. Given Houston’s glut of forwards with rookies Jabari Smith Jr., Tari Eason, and Jae’Sean Tate getting a significant pay raise in his new contract, there appears to be little playing time for Martin.
Yet, with Martin under contract at a relatively cheap rate for two more seasons, the Rockets aren’t desperate to trade an athletic forward who has averaged 9 points (52.4% FG, 36.0% on 3-pointers) and 3.8 rebounds in 22.0 minutes per game over two seasons. It would require solid value to general manager Rafael Stone.
That value hasn’t been found yet, but with several weeks still left until teams report to training camps for the 2022-23 season, it would be foolish to count a Martin deal out as teams attempt to finalize their rosters. From Houston’s perspective, with a fairly deep roster of young guards and forwards, the primary trade incentive would likely need to be either future draft compensation or a backup center.