Knicks Rumors: Kenyon Martin Perfect Fit for Team's Defensive Needs

Josh BenjaminCorrespondent IFebruary 16, 2013

Feb 13, 2012; Dallas, TX, USA; Los Angeles Clippers forward Kenyon Martin (2) smiles during the game against the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center.  Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks need help in the defense department, and veteran power forward Kenyon Martin could be a perfect fit. According to Alex Kennedy of Hoopsworld, the team's front office has considered signing Martin or the recently waived Louis Amundson to fill this void.

The Knicks may rank second in the Eastern Conference and eighth in points allowed, but the feisty and defensive Indiana Pacers are right on their tail, not to mention the looming threats in the Brooklyn Nets and Chicago Bulls. The team cannot defend the pick-and-roll well at all, and another body is needed in the paint to prevent teams that like to run from torching New York. In the veteran Martin, the team would have just that.

Now, some fans out there are probably more than content to let the team stay as it is and let GM Glen Grunwald make no moves whatsoever. Rasheed Wallace and Marcus Camby could be back from their injuries soon, so why bring another man aboard?

The sad truth is that neither Wallace nor Camby is going to be fully effective this season. Wallace may be on the verge of returning and can be a solid low-post presence who can also shoot threes, but Knicks coach Mike Woodson told Adam Zagoria of SNY that the veteran will "never be 100 percent" this season. The same can be said for Camby, who is 38 years old and has always had issues staying healthy.

The fact of the matter is that while team management may be hesitant to cut a player from their full roster to bring yet another aging and injury-prone veteran aboard, they really do not have a choice at this point in the season. It's the time of year when teams start to get hot and go on runs, and the Knicks are not going to be one of those squads unless Martin is signed.

He may be 35 years old, but the former Cincinnati Bearcat and No. 1 pick has solid size at 6'9", 235 pounds. Moreover, he made a name for himself in the NBA by being a solid power forward in the low post, averaging 13 points and 7.1 rebounds for his career in 12 seasons with the New Jersey Nets, Denver Nuggets and Los Angeles Clippers.

Granted, Martin may not be the most effective replacement for the Knicks. After all, he is 35 and has only reached the 70-game plateau four times in 12 years, plus he has yet to appear in an NBA game this season.

But getting a top post defender would mean that New York would have to give up key players like three-point specialist Steve Novak or second-year pest and current top defender Iman Shumpert in a trade, and both are too important to the team's success this season.

That all being said, the Knicks have to at least give Martin a 10-day contract. There are enough expendable players near the bottom of the depth chart, like Kurt Thomas and the aforementioned Wallace, so Grunwald should not hesitate to release one or both of them in order to give Martin a chance.

Worst-case scenario: It doesn't work out, and New York goes back to the drawing board.

Best-case scenario: He turns out to be a perfect fit in Woodson's system and provides the Knicks with the defensive intensity they'll need to finish out the regular season on a high note and also make some noise in the playoffs.