Why the Rockets should not trade KJ Martin

N.B. Lindberg
Orlando Magic v Houston Rockets
Orlando Magic v Houston Rockets / Carmen Mandato/GettyImages
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Kenyon Martin Jr. may have the highest approval rating on the Houston Rockets. While no scientific polls have been conducted on the matter, a glance at Rockets' Twitter can give you a pretty good idea of what the fanbase is thinking. You’ll see an incredible amount of scorn directed toward Stephen Silas, Kevin Porter Jr. is divisive as they come, and even Jalen Green has a small contingent of fans who wished he were Evan Mobley. But when it comes to Kenyon Martin Jr., it is all lollipops and gumdrops and raindrops on roses. 

It’s hard not to enjoy KJ Martin’s game. He hustles, he dunks, and he uncorks blocks that have the fury of an imploding star. However, basketball is far more than fan sentiment, hustle, and highlights, which brings us to the lingering rumor that Martin is a trade candidate. 

Where the KJ Martin trade rumors began

Knowing where a trade rumor came from is more important than the rumor itself. When Kevin Durant was fake traded to half the league over the summer, an important detail was that the rumor originated with him asking for a trade. However, KJ Martin hasn’t publicly demanded or asked for a trade. So where is all this smoke coming from?

Kenyon Martin Sr. started the rumor by suggesting that his son would be better off on another team. His comments amounted to, “He needs to play more and be around winning.” To which the objective observer would respond, those two things are usually mutually exclusive. The best path to more playing time is to be on a worse team, and there aren’t many teams worse than the Rockets. 

While Kenyon Martin Sr. (should we call him KS Martin?) put the trade rumors out into the ether, the rumors have persisted due to the Phoenix Suns and other organizations' interest in KJ Martin. This is a long way of saying there’s no evidence that the Rockets want to move Martin, and there’s only a small amount of evidence that Martin would like to leave. He’s playing the best and most basketball of his NBA life and is the Rockets' go-to fill-in starter. That seems like a very good situation for soon to be 22-year-old 52nd overall pick. 

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