Kenyon Martin is back!
Okay, even with an exclamation point, that statement isn't likely to get people excited, but Martin could step in and be a valuable role player for the New York Knicks.
From Ian Begley of ESPN:
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 Thursday.
Martin, 35, averaged 5.2 points, 4.3 rebounds and one block in 22.4 minutes over 42 games with the Los Angeles Clippers last season. If he's in shape, Martin could help the Knicks' interior defense and boost their rebounding.
With Rasheed Wallace and Marcus Camby still sidelined, Martin will certainly be given a chance to prove he can contribute. You can probably pencil him in for 15-20 minutes per game.
(You can also add him to the list of Knicks who are 35 or older, which is now up to six. These truly are your grandfather's New York Knickerbockers.)
There's also a lot of familiarity in New York for Martin, as he's previously played with Camby, Carmelo Anthony, J.R. Smith, Jason Kidd and Raymond Felton. Anthony had the following to say of Martin (via James Herbert of ESPN):
I really think he can be a big attribute to this team. I’ve been able to play with him in Denver for multiple years and know from a basketball standpoint what he brings to the game when he’s locked in, when he’s focused. I haven’t talked to him yet, I haven’t seen him. People that I know that know him, mutual friends, tell me he’s in shape, he’s ready, he’s focused. As long as that’s the plan coming in here, then we [are] all for it.
For a team ranked 24th in the NBA in rebounds per game and one that often struggles defensively, Martin will fill an important role for this team. I wouldn't expect him to suddenly morph into an elite defensive presence, but he should eat some minutes for the Knicks.
Martin has spent the entire 2012-13 season as a free agent, and his name has come up more than a few times as a potential signing for teams needing some help on the block. But for the better part of four months, that call simply didn't come.
Some may be concerned about Martin's shape or his attitude—he's long been known to have a fiery temper—but Martin won't be playing significant minutes and, at 35, shouldn't be a poor presence in the locker room. In fact, his intensity could offer a little jolt for the Knicks.
Knicks' fans should expect 15-20 minutes, five points or so and five to seven rebounds per game from Martin. Nothing spectacular, but a decent-enough addition while Wallace and Camby are sidelined.
I know, it's hardly worth an exclamation point. But with the Knicks mired in a four-game losing streak, any positive addition to the roster is something to at least get a little excited about.