Kenyon Martin Tradeable?: Nuggets' Offseason Options

Sean StancillSenior Writer IJune 3, 2008

During the 2003-04 season, the Denver Nuggets sent three first round draft picks to the New Jersey Nets for Kenyon Martin.

The deal may have single handedly doomed the Nuggets' franchise for the next five years. And all the Denver Nuggets got was a lummox of a player who played in only 62.1 percent of their games.

Now the key number throughout this article is $13.2 million. That is Kenyon Martin's salary over the next three years.

Here are some trades that make sense to me.


Option One

Denver Nuggets send Kenyon Martin and the 20th pick to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Ben Wallace and the 19th pick.

K-Mart $13.2 million

Ben Wallace $15.2 million 

While this may sound like a bad move for the Nuggets, it's actually good. You must think down the line to the future. Martin's salary is $13.4 million over three years and Wallace's is $15.5 over the next two years. Ben has the better team cap efficient salary.

Both teams have been unhappy with their player's production and will welcome any offers. Realistically, the Nuggets are going to use that pick to draft Ty Lawson. The swap of picks may look uneventful, but there could be a possible problem.

Denver could use the 19th pick to select Chris Douglas-Roberts, which the Cleveland Cavaliers, along with the Orlando Magic (No. 22), seem to be coveting at the moment.

Or suppose a steal occurs, and a player such as Russell Westbrook or Deandre Jordan plummets. What happens if one of the two are still available at No. 19? The Nuggets will have to be careful not to step on Cavaliers GM Danny Ferry's toes.

Then again, Denver and Cleveland could work out a pre-arranged deal in terms of players to be drafted. But unfortunately, the other 30 teams in the NBA won't agree to it. This means if another team takes any one of the pre-determined players, the deal could be in shambles. A Wallace/Martin deal involves risky business.


Option Two

Nuggets send Kenyon Martin ($13.2 million), Linas Kleiza ($1.1 million), and the 20th pick, to the Bucks for Michael Redd ($14.5 million) and Charlie Villanueva ($2.7 million).

The Bucks gain great offensive output in Linas Kleiza and will immediately make him the new small forward, after Bobby Simmons' inconsistent production at the position.

With Redd's departure, Eric Gordon has to be in order. The Bucks would gain another draft pick and first round selection. This brings their total number of picks to three, including two in the top 20 (No. 8, No. 20), and one in the second round (No. 7).

Think of this:

PG Mo Williams

SG Eric Gordon

SF Linas Kleiza

PF Yi Jianlian

C Andrew Bogut

The Nuggets get a lethal shooter and a shooter/banger inside with Charlie Villanueva. If it's even possible, the Nuggets would be able to spread the floor even more and cause mayhem for any defense.

Denver will have to find a player to replace the scoring production of Linas, who will be tough to find, but not impossible.

However, with Iverson, Redd, and Carmelo together, the redundant question of "How will the ball be distributed equally?" strikes again.

After this trade is completed, it will be the perfect time for the Nuggets to begin rebuilding.

Iverson will be leaving after next season, so the experiment of the three-headed monster would be brief. So, it will be just Redd/Melo, without Iverson, for the 2009-10 season. Add a young point guard and a center, and the Nuggets will be turning heads in the Western Conference.

Look at the possible lineup:

PG Allen Iverson

SG Michael Redd

SF Carmelo Anthony

PF Charlie Villanueva

C Marcus Camby

Nuggets Three Point Shooting:

Charlie Villanueva 29.7 percent

Michael Redd 36.2 percent

Carmelo Anthony 35.4 percent

Allen Iverson 34.5 percent

Almost four out of five starters shoot over 30 percent from downtown. No other team in the league has, or would have, a trio that would resemble this. The trade is smart and benefits both teams.


Option Three

Nuggets send Kenyon Martin ($13.2 million) to the Knicks for Zach Randolph ($13.3 million).

This trade may seem lopsided with the New York Knicks getting the short end of the stick, but New York is looking to remove all the pieces brought over from the past Isiah Thomas regime, at all costs.

The Knicks were already looking to move Randolph at the deadline, but teams wanted nothing to do with the stubborn underachiever.

True, the Denver Nuggets would actually be paying more to Zach than to Martin. Randolph is worth the extra $1.33 million. 

Randolph was a 20-10 player in Portland a few seasons back. But he was noticeably affected by the sea of chaos and controversy in the Big Apple.


In realization, I haven't found an exact way to clear the Kenyon Martin debt, because one doesn't exist. Instead, I've found ways to mask it.


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