The Golden State Warriors have already made a blockbuster trade this offseason by dealing Jordan Poole in a package for Chris Paul. However, that wasn’t the only move the front office have explored as they seek to re-tool a roster for championship contention next season.
According to The Athletic’s Anthony Slater on Tuesday, the Warriors explored a move for athletic Houston Rockets forward Kenyon Martin Jr. before he was eventually dealt to the Los Angeles Clippers on July 8.
KJ Martin would have been a low-cost, high upside player for the Golden State Warriors had they acquired him via trade.
Entering the final season of a four-year, $6.1 million contract, Martin could have been a gettable target for a franchise with little to work with salary-wise. Making just $1.9 million in 2022-23, the 6’6″ forward was ultimately dealt to the Clippers for the relative low price of just two second-round picks.
"“The Warriors explored the idea of trading for KJ Martin early in the free agency process, league and team sources told The Athletic. The Rockets were rearranging their roster and made the athletic young wing available via trade”, Slater wrote. “The Warriors could have fit him on the roster through the trade exception created when Patrick Baldwin Jr. was sent to Washington, but discussions never reached the final stages.”"
Martin would have been an intriguing fit with Golden State, having shown real promise in Houston across his first three seasons. He averaged 12.7 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 1.5 assists (all career-highs) in 2022-23, shooting 56.9% from the field and 31.5% from three-point range.
Acquiring the 22-year-old would have given the Warriors another ultra-athletic forward alongside former seventh overall pick Jonathan Kuminga. While that could have been an exciting duo, there would have been obvious question marks on the franchise’s ability to develop both players and have them as genuine rotation pieces to a championship contending team.
Instead, Warrior fans will look from afar to see if the Clippers can utilize Martin amid their own title aspirations. The Rockets had a 59-177 in his three seasons at the franchise, and there’s no doubt opportunities will be more limited in a better team.
New Warrior General Manager Mike Dunleavy Jr. has been unafraid in shaking things up since taking on the role, and this latest report is yet another example of his proactivity in looking to strengthen the Golden State roster.