The first important quote: "(Houston) is definitely looking for help at center.''
The second important quote: "Yes, (the Mavericks) are Kevin Martin guys.''
The Rockets' motivation regarding center help is obvious: Yao Ming's injuries seem to be leading to the end of his career. Hoopsworld's Bill Ingram tweeted that Rockets scouts have been eyeing Haywood as a potential replacement, a view that we've confirmed this morning.
Haywood is experiencing an unfortunate early season for Dallas, having lost the starting job to Tyson Chandler and now playing such a limited role that third-stringer Ian Mahinmi is eating into his minutes. It is the Mavs' position that they want to retain Haywood (as detailed here), who just this summer signed a deal that guarantees him five years and $43 million.
Of course, the Mavs said that before knowing what Houston's position on Haywood might be … and probably without knowledge of Martin's potential availability.
Martin, by the way, still doesn't count as "available''; while we have two pieces of this – Houston's interest in Haywood and Dallas' long-standing interest in Martin – we don't have the piece that place Martin on the block. (Does Houston really employ enough wings to make a 23-ppg guy expendable?)
But we do know of Dallas' interest. … or rather, "intense'' interest, as one source puts it.
The 6-7 shooting guard has long been on the Mavs' radar; last winter, before pulling the trigger on dealing Josh Howard for Caron Butler, Dallas talked to Sacramento about doing the same thing for Martin. This season, having been dealt to the Rockets, Martin, 27, is scoring 23 points per game.
Martin is 11th in the NBA in scoring and seems to be a legit All-Star candidate. As Ziller of Sactown Royalty notes:
"He's doing it with remarkable efficiency: he's shooting a True Shooting percentage of .631 (second among 20-point scorers), bolstered by 41.9 percent shooting on three-pointers and a league-best 91.8 percent on free throws, of which he takes nine per game, the league's fourth-highest average.''
Despite Martin's struggles as a defender, he would arguably qualify as the "Robin'' to Dirk Nowitzki's "Batman'' – a never-ending search in Dallas.
We haven't yet pieced together what might be on the table because we haven't confirmed that there have been serious conversations. (Unlike what we know about Dallas' pursuit of Carmelo Anthony, which – despite what folks in New York and New Jersey believe, and despite the probably pipe-dreamy nature of it – is very real. Unrealistic, maybe. But real.)
Martin is no ‘Melo. But he might be almost infinitely more attainable.
We know Houston has an intense need for a center. We know the Mavs have an "intense'' fondness for Martin.
We'll continue to explore whether there is a match.