Kenyon Martin is officially a New York Knick, at least for 10 days. Rumors surrounding Martin joining the team have been swirling for about two months—since Rasheed Wallace's foot injury became more mysterious.
Yahoo’s Marc Spears broke the news via Twitter earlier today:
Knicks have agreed to sign veteran forward Kenyon Martin to a 10-day contract, a source told Yahoo! Sports.— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) February 21, 2013
ESPN confirmed it moments ago,
“The New York Knicks have agreed in principle with free-agent big man Kenyon Martin on a 10-day contract, general manager Glen Grunwald announced”
The Knicks were limited in roster options heading into the trade deadline. There were few players movable thanks to contract constraints (big and small), age and injury.
But Ronnie Brewer was one.
Brewer, in a sense, hasn’t been a Knick in a good 14-team games anyway, phased out pretty quickly and near completely once Amar’e Stoudemire and Iman Shumpert returned.
Brewer had gone from routinely running 20-plus minutes a game to below five minutes. Against the Boston Celtics, he played 39 seconds, and against the Philadelphia 76ers, he literally had a one-second night.
That's a shame, because Brewer was so important for the first 30 games, when New York went 21-9. His stat line didn’t jump off the page by any means, but he was an effective filler at small forward, which allowed Carmelo Anthony to play the No. 4.
The Knicks have gone 11-10 since then (Amar’e returned on Jan. 1, Shumpert on Jan. 17) and are currently in their worst tailspin of the season. Not only did they lose three of four heading into the All-Star break, but they were absolutely schooled by the Indiana Pacers upon the resumption of play.
Surely that trouncing was the final straw. The Knicks had to do something.
A big part of the problem is the team’s acute lack of size and presence at power forward. You like what you see from Stoudemire, but he’s still only averaging 22 minutes. Kurt Thomas actually put in a 10-spot against the Pacers.
New York needs presence—the kind that just a Tyson Chandler and half an Amar’e alone can’t bring. They need Wallace and Marcus Camby—or someone else who can throw his body around to the detriment of opponents.
Kenyon Martin really is perfect for New York. He is about as close to Wallace as you can get in terms of production, defense and attitude, especially at this stage. And if Wallace can return from a layoff, you get the feeling Martin can too,
So the Knicks made an interesting move here, a patient one. They bided their time. These rumors started months ago, and New York waited to jump on deadline day.
It was a two-for-one.
Since Martin was not on a team and a free agent, he came at the price of admission. The Knicks opened the roster spot for him and also acquired a second-round pick by trading Brewer (lucky for him) to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
It’s hard to get excited about a second-rounder, but the Knicks essentially got just what they need at power forward until the big guys come back and a pick for a guy who no longer adds depth or value and looks unlikely to get back onto the floor much.
Martin's 10-day contract is a stopgap measure. Will it turn into more? The Knicks will still have that roster slot on the 11th day and could use the size.
Let's see how Martin does.