Kevin Martin and the Minnesota Timberwolves agreed to terms on a buyout Tuesday night to give the veteran shooting guard a chance to latch on with a postseason contender shortly before the league's midnight player-eligibility waiver deadline.
ESPN.com's Marc Stein was the first to report the news after noting the two sides were in "advanced" negotiations to make Martin a free agent before the playoff-eligibility deadline. Jon Krawczynski of the Associated Press confirmed the report. The Timberwolves announced the news shortly thereafter.
After reaching an agreement with Minnesota, Martin shared his excitement and some other thoughts with USA Today's Sam Amick:
Sam Amick @sam_amick
Kevin Martin had a few thoughts to share with @USATODAYsports after agreeing to a buyout with the T-Wolves tonight https://t.co/lFikfiueaz3/2/2016, 4:53:55 AM
Stein added that the San Antonio Spurs are a "strong favorite" to sign Martin, while the Dallas Mavericks, Houston Rockets and Atlanta Hawks are all "in pursuit."
Players waived after March 1 are not allowed to play in the postseason, per The Vertical's Bobby Marks, which is why it was so important for the two sides to reach an agreement prior to midnight.
Martin has been a steady shooting presence on the perimeter throughout his career, but his role was reduced significantly this season as the Timberwolves sought to develop younger threats such as Andrew Wiggins, Shabazz Muhammad and Zach LaVine on the wing.
A year after averaging 33.4 minutes per game, Martin has played just 21.4 minutes per contest while posting the lowest shooting percentage of his career. In 39 appearances this season, Martin has shot just 37.7 percent from the field and 36.9 percent from three-point range while averaging 10.6 points per game. He's also averaging a meager 3.6 free-throw attempts per contest.
Martin was once among the league's best at knifing into the lane and drawing contact as a way to produce free-throw attempts—he averaged 10.3 per game during the 2008-09 season—but he's played a spot-up and pull-up shooting role as he's aged.
"You look at his numbers every year, very efficient offensive player," Denver Nuggets head coach Michael Malone said in November, per Krawczynski. "He has the uncanny ability to draw contact and get to the line."
Minnesota's offense has fared better without Martin on the floor this season. According to NBA.com's lineup data, the Timberwolves offensive rating was 100.7 with Martin on the floor and 104.7 with him on the bench.
|Kevin Martin's 2015-16 On/Off Splits|
|Minnesota's Offensive Rating||Minnesota's Defensive Rating||Net Rating|
However, that's not to say Martin can't make a positive impact going forward.
Matched with the right contender, Martin could be a valuable microwave scorer off the pine who helps space the floor and uses the threat of long-range jumpers to create dribble-drive opportunities.
And with a career player efficiency rating close to 18.0 (15.0 is the league average), Martin is the sort of respected and efficient veteran role player prospective playoff teams should be lining up to try to snag at a discount.