The New York Knicks gave Kenyon Martin a chance last season, making him yet another one of their long list of old big men, and sparked a renewed interest in the former number one draft pick. He is now being courted by the same Knicks, but also has a chance to sign for the Los Angeles Lakers, Brooklyn Nets, Los Angeles Clippers and San Antonio Spurs.
Like many veterans, it has a lot to do with the title chances a team can offer him. Martin played for the Nets when they reached the NBA finals two years in a row in the early 00’s, and helped the Knicks make the conference semifinals last season, playing mostly as a center, starting 11 games (playing 18 overall), averaging 7.2 points and 5.3 rebounds per game, although his playing time and production took a hit during the playoffs.
Martin will be turning 36 in December, which means there isn’t too big of a role for him to fill, but he can be a very valuable asset coming off the bench, giving some minutes of rest to any position in the frontcourt. The good thing about Martin is that he seems to be a good fit with almost any team, and it’s hard to find an NBA team that doesn’t need some experience and size off the bench, especially at a relatively low price.
No one is going to pay Martin too much, probably something lower than the Mid-Level exception, but besides title chances (probably coming strongest from the San Antonio Spurs), it’s going to be if someone manages to give him a two-year deal instead of just one, or one of the teams, all looking to make the playoffs next season at the very least (although the Lakers, without Howard and a huge question mark over Kobe, are doubtful), outbids the others in terms of money, that might be the thing that gives them the edge.
The Knicks would like to re-sign him, but are very limited in what they can offer, just like the rest. Again, all teams need a big man to give them some quality minutes off the bench, so it’s less about need and simply about Martin’s gut instincts regarding which teams has the best chance of going the longest in the playoffs next season, or money.