The Minnesota Timberwolves and Kevin Martin had a deal that could have kept him on the team and making good money next season as well, but the two sides reached a buyout, waiving Martin, now leaving him free to sign with someone he can be useful on, with the San Antonio Spurs, Houston Rockets, Dallas Mavericks and Atlanta Hawks interested in his scoring.
Martin, making $7.085 million this season as part of a four year deal worth $27.75 million back in 2013, had a player option worth $7.377 million next season. However, the 33-year old has played more than 20 minutes in a game just once since December, having plenty of DNP including the last two games, and getting just four minutes in the February 24 loss against the Toronto Raptors. The Timberwolves were trying to trade him throughout last month, not finding a deal they were happy with.
At this point, Martin is some scoring off the bench, nothing more. His per minute numbers are still good (17.9 points per 36 minutes this season), averaging 10.6 points in 39 games this season in just 21.4 minutes a night. But he offers no defense and very little variety in his scoring, shooting just 37.7% from the field this season. On a team with better coaching (Sam Mitchell shouldn’t be at this job) Martin might be put in a better position to do more. Overall, the Timberwolves had a +1.7 net rating in favor of Martin sitting out in comparison to him playing.
So who lands him? Reports suggest the Spurs, who’ll have to cut someone if they plan on signing someone from now until the end of the season, are the favorites to land Martin, who probably has more than just the Texas teams + Atlanta trying to get him. It’ll be interesting to see how he fits in the Spurs’ system, although he’ll probably be used mostly for his 3-point shooting ability, which could be maximized while playing in San Antonio, like the Thunder did with him in 2012-2013 (shot 42.6% from beyond the arc that season).
Martin has been in Houston and if contending is his thing, there’s no use putting his head in an ailing bed. The Rockets have no idea what they’re doing at this point and how to get this roster to click again. Adding Martin, who isn’t going to be happy seeing someone else hogging the ball next to him so frequently, doesn’t sound right. The Rockets don’t need another player who is at his best when he just shoots and does nothing else.
The Hawks and Mavericks aren’t contenders, but it means playoffs, and it means two teams that have the coaching that can make the most of Martin’s abilities, and can give him minutes. The Cleveland Cavaliers are always mentioned in regards to any bought out player, but frankly, it’s difficult to see where and how Martin gets minutes on the Cavs, who don’t need another ego in their dressing room at this point.