Sixers: Is Kenyon Martin Jr. a trade option?

Kenyon Martin Jr., Sixers trade target (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
Kenyon Martin Jr., Sixers trade target (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images) /

The Philadelphia 76ers are in the thick of the Eastern Conference playoff race and the seed that the team may place in can range from, realistically, the 3-6 seed at the end of the season. That means the Sixers will be working the phones to make an upgrade to their playoff-level lineup. Philly needs to look into improving their depth at the wing position. This weakness begs the question for the Sixers, is Kenyon Martin Jr. a realistic trade option?

The trade is a minuscule move in the macro scheme of NBA news. But if it’s a trade that happens in the NBA, you know if you’re reading this website that ESPN’s top NBA Insider Adrian Wojnarowski is going to tweet about it. The type of trade that would upset a lot of fans because of the excitement that comes with receiving a Woj Twitter notification and the result being this minor move. Let’s get into the framework of the trade.

Should the Sixers trade for Rockets wing Kenyon Martin Jr.?

The Sixers make this move for a couple of reasons. First, let Jaden Springer try this NBA basketball thing somewhere else. The second reason is, Martin adds some much-needed elements to this current 76ers roster. Martin has the size of a wing standing 6-foot-6 and weighing in at 215 pounds. The son of the former NBA player, Martin Jr. is an athletic freak on the court terrorizing rims, rolling to the rim, driving to the rim, filling lanes,  and blocking shots when rotating from the weak side on defense.

Martin Jr. is averaging 24.3 minutes per game, 10.7 points per game, 4.9 rebounds per game, and 1.4 assists per game, on .555/.309/.662 shooting splits in 35 games so far this season. Martin Jr.’s contribution to the offense doesn’t demand the ball. The wing will act as a screener for the ballhandlers on the team. James Harden, Tyrese Maxey, De’Anthony Melton, and Shake Milton could all benefit from Martin’s screening presence. Martin’s verticality will be much-needed spice added to the Sixers’ offense. Two simple ways to get Martin lobs are for him to hide in the dunker’s spot or for him to be the screener in high screen-and-roll actions. Martin can also make his presence known running in transition and slashing to the basket.

From Houston’s perspective, this move attempts to turn a negative into a positive. Three small reasons that make this a good situation for the Rockets. The first is that Martin has been rumored to want out of Houston due to a lack of playing time. So they get rid of this nuisance that is not fitting with what they are trying to build around Jalen Green and company. The second is that the team receives two additional draft picks on top of the 21 picks they currently hold through the 2028-2029 NBA season. The third reason is that Houston receives a possible foundational piece to their perimeter defense in Jaden Springer. Springer can contribute defensively right away next to Jabari Smith Jr. and Alphren Sengun and can learn on the fly on offense next to those two as well as Kevin Porter Jr. and Jalen Green. As the Rockets’ fate for the next few seasons is top-ten draft pick bound, Springer has a couple of years to round out into an NBA player.

After weighing both sides, does the trade sound realistic and not an example of out of NBA 2K? Yes, I believe it does. The main reason for my belief in it being a possibility is the 50/50 outcome of it. The possibility of the move happening and the move not happening is the same percentage. The Philadelphia 76ers are certainly going to be mentioned in trade talks in the coming months. Kenyon Martin Jr. is just the latest trade option added to the conversation of additions to the team.

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