Knicks Rumors: Could Kenyon Martin Finally Be on His Way to New York?

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Knicks Rumors: Could Kenyon Martin Finally Be on His Way to New York?
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

After failing to bring him in over the summer, the New York Knicks are once again exploring the idea of signing free-agent forward Kenyon Martin.

According to ESPN, the Knicks have K-Mart in their sights, primarily because of the trouble surrounding Rasheed Wallace's injured foot.

Sheed has been missing for 12 games now due to the injury, which is particularly alarming as it was initially considered a minor issue. After a couple of years in retirement, there's a good chance that the physical grind of the NBA could be getting the better of Wallace.

Back in September, the Knicks were initially interested in Martin, but it appears that talks broke down due to the team only having the veteran's minimum to offer the former Net.

Since then, however, Martin hasn't received a better offer elsewhere and has been holding out in the hope that he eventually would. As it turns out, the wait has just been too long, and Martin wants a chance to prove his worth on a 10-day contract.

With 15 players already on the roster, the Knicks would have to cut a player to bring in Martin. But looking at the squad, it's hard to pick out who that player would be.

As Ian Begley notes on his column, the Knicks' primary candidates have to be Wallace, Chris Copeland, James White and Kurt Thomas, who are all on veteran's minimum deals and have been in and out of the rotation.

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
K-Mart can still be a very useful piece for a title-contending team.

At this point, it would be insane for the Knicks to get rid of Copeland. They've found a player that can score well in the NBA if nothing else, and even at the age of 28 has some upside moving forward.

Over the course of the regular season, there's a good chance that Copeland will emerge as a very important member of the Knicks' bench, making him relatively untouchable in this situation.

White doesn't appear to be quite as talented as other members of the roster, but his athleticism and durability make him a useful player. On a team filled with older players, it's important to have a guy that will always be able to step in and provide consistent play, even if it's not spectacular to watch.

As dependable as he is, it may make the most sense for Thomas to be the odd one out here. He plays the same position as Martin, who could then act simply as a direct upgrade.

But as Begley's article indicates, it all really comes down to the status of Rasheed Wallace. After all the Knicks did to bring him here, there's no way they would cut him outright for another player.

Looking at his relationship with Coach Woodson—which stretches back to their days in Detroit—there's no way the team could do that to him after all the work he put in to get back in basketball shape.

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
The injury status of Rasheed Wallace is probably the most important factor in the decision.

If it looks like he'll be out for a while, but back eventually, they may then look at cutting another player. If the injury is worse than that, however, then maybe—and this is pure speculation—we could be looking at retirement and an advisory role like the one Baron Davis has taken.

Sheed's importance to the Knicks comes from more of a leadership standpoint than from his actual presence of the court, so a situation where a space is made for Martin and Wallace is still there in some capacity could work.

Whether or not there is space for Martin right now, there's no denying that he could help the team out. It's actually quite amazing that he's even still available at this point.

Martin would bring defense, rebounding and unrivalled toughness, which could be valuable in the more physical games the Knicks have struggled in this season.

As a former teammate of six Knicks players, chemistry would not be an issue on his side, and he's someone who—assuming he's in shape—could be slotted into the rotation immediately.

This isn't a move the Knicks should feel they have to make, as their roster is already one of the deepest in the entire league. But if they feel they can make an upgrade without disrupting chemistry, then it could be yet another savvy move from Glen Grunwald.

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