Ranking the Best Potential Fits for Free-Agent Kenyon Martin
Kenyon Martin is confused.
The NBA season has gotten underway, meaning free-agency came and went, and the athletic power forward still doesn't have a job.
Though Martin's reluctance to accept the veteran's minimum coupled with his desire to play for a contender is likely to have played a part in his failure to find a job, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reports that is no longer a problem:
Martin, 34, had hoped to sign with a title contender. Now, he'll be open to joining any NBA team.
"If someone calls me tomorrow, I don't care who it is, whether it's losing or winning at this point," Martin said. "If someone calls me tomorrow and wants me to come in, I'm going."
While Martin's willingness to sign with any and all prospective suitors is encouraging, Wojnarowski also notes there were plenty of teams interested in him beforehand, yet nothing came to fruition.
With the season already in progress, are any teams likely to give the veteran a call, or are any of them likely to even still be interested?
Let's find out.
7. New York Knicks
With Amar'e Stoudemire expected to miss a large portion of the season, the New York Knicks may have had a substantial need for Kenyon Martin at one point.
But not anymore.
Marc Stein of ESPN.com originally reported of New York's interest in the forward, but he was unwilling to sign at the veteran's minimum. And now the team has no need for him.
Not only are the Knicks off to a hot start, but rookie forward Chris Copeland proved to be a source of instant offense during the preseason and Rasheed Wallace is already a fan favorite.
Throw in the fact that New York would now have to rid itself of one of the two, or another player, to make room for Martin, and it's clear the unemployed forward is no longer a good fit for this team.
Or even a conceivable one for that matter.
6. Los Angeles Lakers
While it's only encouraging to see Kenyon Martin finally attempt to distance himself from the negative stigma that surrounds him, the last thing the Los Angeles Lakers need is for him to enter the fold.
Though Sam Amick of then Sports Illustrated reported that Martin was considering joining the Lakers, he isn't the solution to any of their problems at this point.
Los Angeles may appear in disarray at times, but is Martin likely to help that? Not at all, he'll only make it worse. Not because of his attitude, but because of the potential chemistry hurdles he'll present.
Kobe Bryant and company need to focus on playing with what they have, not adding new pieces to an already complex puzzle.
Plus, if anything, I'd rather see Los Angeles give any available minutes to the just as athletic Robert Sacre, not an aging veteran who doesn't factor into the team's future.
5. Brooklyn Nets
I'm not sure how I feel about a reunion here.
Though our good friend Sam Amick now of USA Today also reported that the Brooklyn Nets had sought out Kenyon Martin earlier this year, they really aren't that great of a fit.
Brooklyn already has an abundance of hustle forwards in Reggie Evans and Kris Humphries, and Martin doesn't have the consistent range necessary to provide relief in the event Gerald Wallace misses more time than the team is currently saying.
That said, the Nets are in the bottom half of the NBA's rebounding and blocking departments thus far, and they are allowing 100 points per contest as well. Martin, who is a sound rebounder and fierce defender, would certainly be able to help such a cause.
But at what price?
Brooklyn already has a 15-man roster and unless they deem Martin more valuable than a Keith Bogans or Andray Blatche, a reunion between him and the organization that propelled him to stardom is more than unlikely.
And makes less than plenty of sense.
4. Atlanta Hawks
I'm not going to lie, this is a pairing I'd love to see.
Could you imagine the Atlanta Hawks sliding Kenyon Martin alongside the equally volatile Josh Smith?
Neither could I, but I'd love to see it. And according to Adrian Wojnarowski, Atlanta was among those interested in Martin's services.
Additionally, not only is the intrigue factor there, but the Hawks are currently rebounding at the fourth-lowest rate in the league and are 28th in blocks per contest as well.
Yes, it's still early, but Smith himself has already missed one game and according to Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal Constitution, he has yet to return to practice.
Though the Hawks upset the Oklahoma City Thunder on the road without Smith, Martin could provide some much needed interior relief.
Plus, Atlanta is only currently carrying 14 players, so all it would take for this to materialize is some swift check-writing on the Hawks' part.
3. Dallas Mavericks
Per Adrian Wojnarowski, Cuban seemed prepared to do just that, as Dallas was among the teams interested in acquiring his services at one point.
Now, the Mavericks' docket is full, but they have never been ones to shy away from a game of musical roster spots. Last week they brought in Eddy Curry just to usher him out in favor of Troy Murphy.
Speaking of Murphy, I understand he provides the versatile scoring presence that Dirk Nowitzki would have, but he is hardly a fraction of the athlete Martin is.
No, Martin isn't a viable three-point threat, but neither is Murphy. He hasn't averaged more than 1.5 shots per game in three seasons and at 32, the lift under his jump shot isn't what it used.
Then there's also Darren Collison and O.J. Mayo to consider, two offensively inclined athletes who have been given the unconditional green light in Nowitzki's absence.
Which means Martin would be a much better fit. He's a staunch defender who can make an impact even after Nowitzki returns.
Murphy, on the other hand, is a carbon-copy of the exact opposite.
2. Boston Celtics
Let's be honest, the Boston Celtics have disappointed out the gates.
Boston not only started the season by losing two of three, but it remains one of the five worst rebounding teams in the league.
Yes, it's early, but why not nip this in the bud before it becomes a perpetual issue?
Let's not forget, Jared Sullinger is just a rookie, and Kevin Garnett has plenty of wear and tear on his body, so some additional on-the-glass security would be anything but unwise.
Enter Kenyon Martin, who according to A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com, is someone Boston considered chasing previously.
Well, there's no need to chase now. Martin is ready and willing, and the Celtics should be too.
Because let's face it, Darko Milicic and his current -7.36 PER simply isn't going to cut it.
1. San Antonio Spurs
I. Love. This.
Adrian Wojnarowski wrote that the San Antonio Spurs were among those interested in Kenyon Martin originally, and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't hoping they still were.
There's just something about the Spurs and Gregg Popovich that bring out the best in athletes. Just ask Boris Diaw.
And while Tim Duncan continues to turn back the block with his 10 boards per game, let it be known that San Antonio's second-leading glass crasher is Kawhi Leonard, who's snagging 4.3 per night.
The Spurs are currently the league's sixth-worst rebounding team and are leaving DeJuan Blair buried on the bench.
So, with a roster spot still open, why not give Martin a shot?
He adds plenty of frontcourt depth, versatility and, most importantly, a continuous rebounding presence.
In other words: This makes sense.