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KJ Martin changes course, now open to extension

The disgruntled forward, no longer disgruntled?

NBA: Houston Rockets at Orlando Magic Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

If you callback to the offseason, one of the more notable stories revolving around the Houston Rockets was the uncertainty in Kenyon Martin Jr.’s future with the organization. He had been a promising player in his first two years who understandably felt that he was deserving of a larger role.

With the incoming selections of Jabari Smith Jr. and Tari Eason in this most recent draft, KJ’s status became unclear as many around the league sensed he’d seek a less crowded frontcourt elsewhere. A trade request soon followed...

However, today’s report by Kelly Iko of The Athletic suggests that KJ has pivoted from his earlier demands and is now open to a long-term future with the Rockets after he’s been given the opportunity to play impactful minutes for the team. He’s taken advantage of his opportunity, and that’s great news for Houston as GM Rafael Stone’s reluctancy to give into Martin’s trade demands have paid off in the early part of the season.

KJ’s early success this season has played a tremendous role in the Rockets’ intensity around the rim and on the run. Along with Eason and some combination of either Usman Garuba or Alperen Sengun, those lineups have managed to post a positive net rating when they’re accompanied by the dynamic backcourt of Kevin Porter Jr. and Jalen Green.

If Houston is able to retain Martin and come to a mutual agreement on his usage and contract status, this will be a huge win for a team that is focused on finding keepers for their rebuild.