NBA Free Agents: Kenyon Martin Should Pick Los Angeles Lakers over Brooklyn Nets

Tyler ConwayFeatured ColumnistAugust 6, 2012

MEMPHIS, TN - MAY 13:  Kenyon Martin #2 of the Los Angeles Clippers reacts in the final minutes of their 82-72 win over the Memphis Grizzlies in Game Seven of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs at FedExForum on May 13, 2012 in Memphis, Tennessee.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

According to Sports Illustrated's Sam Amick, the fight for the services of veteran power forward Kenyon Martin has come down to two franchises: the Los Angeles Lakers and the Brooklyn Nets.

Via Amick:

But sources said the [Martin] is holding up this later stage of the hiring process for frontcourt free agents, with the Lakers and the Nets among the teams he's considering and negotiation leverage seemingly gone because so many of his colleagues seem willing to take minimum deals.

With Martin having to take veteran's minimum deals with both the Lakers and Nets, the 34-year-old power forward's decision likely comes down to choosing between a title shot and playing time.

And if Martin truly wants to end his NBA journey the right way, he'll choose the Lakers.

In L.A. Martin would get to play with Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum. Those four core players rival any in the NBA, and the Lakers should compete for the Western Conference crown against the Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs.

And with one of the Lakers' few needs left in free agency being interior defensive presence, Martin could be the perfect fit. Even at his advancing age, Martin is a strong inside defender and shot-blocker whose contributions to the Los Angeles Clippers last season went far beyond his paltry 5.2 points and 4.3 rebounds per night.

Martin also is seemingly in a place, 12 years into his NBA career, where he's satisfied being a secondary part and veteran leader.

But Martin would be the team's third-string power forward in Los Angeles, behind the starter, Gasol, and newly acquired veteran Antawn Jamison. That undoubtedly means that the power forward would set another career low in minutes, after averaging only 22.4 per game last season with the Clippers.

On the other hand, Martin's road to extended minutes wouldn't be as treacherous in Brooklyn.

The Nets have three power forwards in Kris Humphries, Reggie Evans and Mirza Teletovic, but none of them are so abundantly talented that Martin wouldn't steal some minutes.

And it's not as if Brooklyn's is a roster devoid of talent, either. Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Gerald Wallace and Brook Lopez make up another interesting "Big Four" that makes the Nets a top-tier Eastern Conference team.

But they're not ready for an NBA title run.

The Lakers are.

And with Martin just one accomplishment away from the NBA trifecta, he needs to make signing with L.A. a top priority.

Players come into the league to make money. Martin has made $110.87 million in his career.


Players come into the NBA to be great. Martin was an All-Star in 2004 and was a team leader on back-to-back NBA Finals teams in New Jersey.


The final check in that box is winning an NBA championship.

The Lakers give Martin the best chance for that and open up a potential ride off into to the sunset for the 2000 No. 1 overall pick.

And considering that the money is the same and playing time won't be that much different between Brooklyn and Los Angeles, winning a championship should be the final factor in making signing with the Lakers a no-brainer for Martin.