It looked like the Rockets could finally start using KJ Martin the right way in 2022. That is, unless he doesn't request a trade first.
The Houston Rockets, their fanbase, and the players are in an interesting position going into the 2022 NBA season.
The players and the fanbase have done a great job of buying in during a difficult couple of years. This has led to the fans falling in love with players that have obvious replacements in the draft or in free agency, and a team like the Rockets can't afford to hold onto guys just because they work hard.
As it stands right now, Jalen Green is really the only piece that should be hands-off in a trade until the upcoming draft.
Outside of Green and the upcoming rookie, Houston doesn't have the ability to pass on better options in favor of young pieces that have already been on the roster.
Nowhere is this more relevant than with KJ Martin.
Martin actually had a very decent season last year as the backup to Jae'Sean Tate. Even when Martin played better, Tate still started the majority of the games at the four, and this led many fans to wonder why Martin wasn't able to make it on the court more.
Apparently Martin is wondering the same thing when it was reported by Kelly Iko that the young forward approached the team about the possibility of a trade.
While nothing is set in stone yet and the Rockets have every ounce of leverage in this situation, a conversation like this doesn't bode well for the thought that Martin will be a willing bench guy again in 2022.
This whole thing does feel a bit premature from Martin. Tate didn't succeed from three for the majority of last season and is far from a guarenteed part of this team for the future.
To further the case for playing time on the horizon for Martin, a rookie like Paolo Banchero joining the team doesn't actually close the door on his chance to play. Tate and Martin should realistically be competing for the starting three role, and shooting from distance well should lend itself to Martin's case.
All in all, Martin is justified in wanting to see more of the court, but talking about a trade based on his current leverage is a bit strange.
Young guys need to be okay fighting for a spot and making a name for themselves despite the challenges that pop up, and we hope that KJ ends up seeing the light and putting it all on the line again during a season where the Rockets should be a good bit more exciting.
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