Make no mistake, this is a team that is now ready to make a serious run for the NBA championship, but Kenyon Martin wouldn't bring anything to the table that would push them over the top. According to Sam Amick of Sports Illustrated, Martin is considering joining the Lakers.
Sources said the 34-year-old power forward 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.
While it would be tempting for the Lakers to add yet another big-name veteran to the roster, the Lakers should abstain and stick with what they have or use their mini mid-level exception on a player that will add depth to the backcourt rather than another post player.
Simply put, Martin doesn't fit in with this Lakers team and here's why:
He Would Take Minutes from Jordan Hill
The Lakers have very few young guys on the roster with any promise but Jordan Hill is the exception to that statement.
Hill has not lived up to his top-10 pick billing that he had as a rookie, but the 25-year-old continues to develop and could be key if Dwight Howard misses more time than expected with his back injury.
Ultimately, Pau Gasol and Howard will play the lion's share of minutes in the front court, which leaves Hill to pick up what's left. Given that Hill has shown potential, it would be a wise move on the Lakers part to really give him a push to prepare him for the playoffs.
The problem with signing Martin is that both Hill and Martin bring similar things to the table. Neither are going to light up the scoreboard—they both shot in the mid-40s last season, but they are both more than qualified to provide rebounding and defensive presence off the bench.
Aside from stealing minutes from Hill, the addition of Martin would also cut into the minutes of newly acquired forward Earl Clark—who could have good potential playing alongside the veterans on the Lakers team.
The Lakers shouldn't use up a roster spot on Martin when they have a player in Hill who does the same things and is nine years younger.
He's Injury Prone
The Lakers age has been gone over ad nauseum so there's no reason to go over it again, but the Lakers are old. The roster is primarily made of players on the downside of their career, which means that health will play a huge role in the success of this team.
Adding an injury-prone player like Martin certainly won't help with that issue.
Martin has missed significant time with injuries in each of the last four seasons and hasn't played more than 77 games in any one season.
He's an Offensive Liability
Once upon a time, Martin was a high-flying scorer who shot around 50 percent and could find a niche in any offense.
Nowadays he's lost a step, his athleticism no longer gets him easy looks and his jumper was never good enough to adapt to his fading athleticism. His last season with the Clippers was a disaster offensively.
Martin averaged just five points per game in 22 minutes on 44 percent shooting and a putrid 37 percent from the free-throw line.
With offensive numbers that bad, Martin's presence on the floor will allow teams to more easily double Gasol or Howard in the paint and leave Martin open. Once again, the Lakers already have Hill so adding a player like Martin would be redundant.
With the mini mid-level exception still available and veterans interested in coming to L.A. to hunt for a ring, the Lakers should keep their options open and look elsewhere for veteran help.
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