The Houston Rockets are picking up Kenyon Martin Jr.’s $1.9 million team option for the 2023-24 season, according to sources. Houston is also extending qualifying offers to Darius Days and Trevor Hudgins, making them restricted free agents.
Martin’s Jr.’s team option is part of the four-year, $6.13 million contract he signed with the Rockets in November 2020. His cap hit for next season is $1,930,681.
The 6-foot-6 small forward was selected 52nd overall by the Sacramento Kings in the 2020 NBA Draft. He was then immediately traded to Houston for cash and a 2021 second-round draft pick.
Per a few NBA betting sites, the Rockets hold 24th-ranked odds to win next season’s championship in 2024. Sportsbooks are giving the Oklahoma City Thunder, Portland Trail Blazers, and San Antonio Spurs better odds.
Kenyon Martin Jr. could immediately be traded now that his $1.9M option has been picked up.
He could also be a renegotiation and extension candidate if the Rockets have some cap space leftover. https://t.co/8WYYg0unrR
— Yossi Gozlan (@YossiGozlan) June 29, 2023
Will the Rockets trade Martin Jr. this offseason? It was reported last week that Houston was leaning toward shopping the California native. The Rockets could make a trade “to create further financial flexibility,” per Yahoo Sports’ Jake Fischer.
Of course, Fischer listed the Atlanta Hawks, Phoenix Suns, and Brooklyn Nets as potential suitors for Martin Jr. The third-year wing made 49 starts in all 82 games played in the 2022-23 season. The forward averaged career highs of 12.7 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and 28 minutes per game. Martin Jr. also shot a career-best 56.9% from the floor.
Houston Rockets pick up Kenyon Martin Jr.’s $1.9 million team option for the 2023-24 season, to shop the third-year wing?
“In talks with teams, the Rockets have maintained their stance that they aren’t looking to trade anyone from their core — including top-five picks in Jalen Green and Jabari Smith Jr. and lottery picks Alperen Şengün and Tari Easo,” wrote Kelly Iko of The Athletic.
“Elsewhere, there has been interest in 22-year-old forward KJ Martin [Jr.], sources say, with his combination of age and upside still intriguing to rival NBA teams and deemed attainable internally for the right price.”
Kenyon Martin Jr’s top 5 dunks of the 2022-23 season: pic.twitter.com/9WkkWY9zZv
— Bradeaux (@BradeauxNBA) May 25, 2023
Furthermore, Martin Jr. finished 11th in effective field goal percentage (61.7%) and 17th in offensive rating (125.8). In Houston’s 128-122 loss to the Atlanta Hawks on Nov. 25, he recorded 21 points and grabbed a career-high 15 rebounds in 34 minutes as a starter.
In the Rockets’ 130-125 loss against the Memphis Grizzlies on Mar. 22, the forward scored a career-high 31 points in 39 minutes as a starter. He posted six boards and two blocks while shooting 12-of-18 (66.7%) from the field and 2-of-5 (40%) beyond the arc.
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Source: Basketball Insider