4 Small deadline trades that could have big impacts on Trail Blazers' future

There are some moves Portland can make that won't be headline-grabbers but could make a significant difference down the line.
Nick Richards, Charlotte Hornets (left); Daniel Gafford, Washington Wizards
Nick Richards, Charlotte Hornets (left); Daniel Gafford, Washington Wizards / Scott Taetsch/GettyImages
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A young, explosive forward with upside comes to Rip City

Blazers KJ Martin trade 1/27/24

This one's as simple as it gets. The Trail Blazers send away a future second-rounder in exchange for a 23-year-old wing who's one of the most athletic and explosive players in the league.

Despite his age, the 6-6 Martin is in his fourth NBA season and has already made an impact; it just hasn't been this year. After he was acquired by the LA Clippers in the offseason, he was rerouted to the 76ers as part of the James Harden trade and hasn't seen much of the floor since.

Last season, though, Martin played in all 82 games for the Rockets, averaging 12.7 points and 5.5 rebounds in 28 minutes a night. He shot 57 percent from the floor as most of his finishes came at or near the rim. He's a good cutter and an explosive finisher.

His 31.5 percent shooting from three last season was far lower than his averages in his first two campaigns (36.5, 35.7), displaying his potential to be at least an average 3-point shooter, especially as he grows his game.

Defensively, Martin's athleticism, length and activity can wreak havoc on opponents on and off the ball. That would fit nicely with what head coach Chauncey Billups is trying to build in Portland. The ability to cause a deflection, get out and run and finish in transition is exactly what the Blazers are looking for in their young players.

He's a free agent after the season, but unless he plays like an all-star over the final few months, it won't cost much to re-sign Martin and continue to let him develop as a young player on a bad team.