Yesterday we heard Kevin Martin tell Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle he disputes a report by Bill Ingram of HoopsWorld suggesting he’s dissatisfied with his situation in Houston. Regardless of whom you believe, it’s reasonable to suspect Martin could be on the trading block, since he was part of the ill-fated three-team deal that would have sent Chris Paul to the Lakers in December. The Rockets find themselves at 20-14, tied with the Lakers for fifth in the Western Conference after a surprisingly successful first half, but are apparently still pursuing a shakeup. Ingram, in his report, points to tension between the players and new coach Kevin McHale, who on the outside seems like a candidate for Coach of the Year.
Martin has a reputation as an all-offense, no-defense guy, but he’s consistently put up impressive numbers. He’s averaged at least 20 PPG the last five seasons, even though most of his time has been spent on lottery-bound teams in Houston and Sacramento. At 6’7”, he does give you length at the shooting guard position, an asset that teams with undersized backcourts, like Golden State, might covet. His scoring is down this season, at 18.0 PPG, partly the result of almost one fewer shot per game (6.0) compared to last year (6.9). Nonetheless, he makes a fairly attractive option to teams like the Cavs and Wolves who are in need of shooting guard help. His contract, which has 11.5MM guaranteed for this year and $12.4 for next, is a little pricey, but it’s not a long-term commitment.
The Clippers could also use a shooting guard, but they don’t appear to have the tradable assets required to get a deal done. Ingram mentioned the Wolves as a potential partner, and this ESPN Trade Machine idea, a three-teamer that includes the Warriors, could be a possibility. Warriors GM Larry Riley seems keen on making a deal, and if he decides to retool with the future in mind, he might go for a trade like this. The future is also a key component of this deal for the Rockets, who would essentially swap Luis Scola for David Lee and get Derrick Williams, the second pick in the 2011 draft, for Martin.
That said, teams exceeding expectations don’t deal away proven 20-point scorers all that often. Martin might be on the block, but the Rockets seem to be in firm control of the market.