Rockets’ Martin Open To Contract Extension

Rockets forward Kenyon Martin Jr. is becoming more amenable to the idea of continuing his career in Houston, according to Kelly Iko of The Athletic, who hears from sources that Martin is open to signing a contract extension with the team.

It’s a major reversal for Martin, who reportedly spoke to Rockets management this offseason about the possibility of a trade due to concerns about his role. With Jae’Sean Tate re-signed and forwards Jabari Smith and Tari Eason drafted in the first round, it was unclear whether the 21-year-old had a place in Houston’s long-term plans.

So far this season, however, Martin has appeared in all 11 of the Rockets’ games and is averaging a career-high 25.7 minutes per contest. He has put up 11.3 PPG, 4.7 RPG, and 1.8 APG on .489/.341/.667 shooting, and his willingness to play a complementary role next to the club’s primary scorers and play-makers has made him a nice fit in several lineups, as Iko outlines.

“I don’t care about how much I score,” Martin told Iko. “If I can get someone else open, I’m fine with that. Just me being a connector — when the offense gets stagnant, get something moving so other guys see it. And the next time we come down the floor, if this works go back to it. Me and Coach (Stephen Silas) talked a lot (about it), and me being a connector on offense and defense helps us a lot.”

Martin is in the third season of the four-year contract he signed after being selected 52nd overall in the 2020 draft. Because more than two years have passed since he signed that contract, he’s eligible for a contract extension, though in order to work out something during the season, the Rockets would have to decline his minimum-salary team option for 2023/24 as part of the agreement — only players on expiring contracts can sign in-season veteran extensions.

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The three-year, $20.6MM contract that Tate signed this past summer with the Rockets would likely serve as a point of comparison if and when the team discusses a new deal with Martin, since his role and his production so far this season are similar to Tate’s in 2021/22.

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