Yahoo Sports’ Marc J. Spears reported that Los Angeles explored Martin as an option during the offseason, but backed off. Spears wrote:
The New York Knicks, Los Angeles Lakers, Dallas Mavericks, Brooklyn Nets, Atlanta Hawks and San Antonio Spurs expressed interest at the start of free agency, sources said, but no NBA team has offered a contract – even a non-guaranteed deal – to Martin.
This was the right decision then, and it is still the correct course of action now.
The Lakers currently have 15 players on their roster, which is the maximum amount allowed. In order to make room for Martin, they would have to cut one of their current players to make room for the 12-year veteran.
While the L.A. bench is far from perfect, Martin would do nothing to improve it. When looking at the makeup of the Lakers’ roster, the age of the team jumps out.
Martin, at 34 years old, would make an aging team even older. He certainly has experience and can make a contribution to an NBA team, but he is not an ideal fit for the Lakers.
His production has dipped as he has gotten older, and he averaged just 5.2 points and 4.3 rebounds in 22.4 minutes for the Los Angeles Clippers this season. If he were to sign with the Lakers, it is difficult to see where Mike Brown would find that much playing time for Martin.
The team has firmly committed to Jordan Hill as the first big man off the bench. After Hill, it has already invested in Antawn Jamison by signing him as a free agent this offseason, and his offensive capabilities ensure that he will be used more than Martin.
That leaves Earl Clark, who can play either forward spot, and Robert Sacre, a rookie out of Gonzaga who was extremely impressive during the preseason. Clark is an offensively-limited player who is long and athletic, with the potential to be an excellent defensive player. In other words, he is a younger player who would contribute the same qualities as Martin.
If the Lakers were to cut a player to make room for Martin, it would likely be one the rookies on its roster—Scare or Darius Johnson-Odom.
Swapping Martin for Sacre would keep the roster’s balance the same by trading one frontcourt player for another. But getting rid of a young and promising player for a 34-year-old would not be a wise move.
Ditching Johnson-Odom, a shooting guard, would also be ill-advised as the team would be depleting its backcourt depth in the wake of Steve Nash’s injury.
Ultimately, Martin is simply not an attractive enough option to make the Lakers reform their roster. While the bench may continue to struggle, Martin is not the answer to its problems.