Kenyon Martin’s spacious suburban Denver estate is in the process of being sold. Take a peek at the video for a look at what will soon be KMart’s former digs. Maybe KMart should take a look himself, because chances are he’s not going to be able to afford something like that again.
There’s nothing like selling one’s mansion to signal to everyone you’re not sticking around. Sure, maybe Martin wants to downsize a little since he’ll never come close to making the $16.5 million he made last season again. So even if he stays with the Denver Nuggets, he might decide to move into something a little more befitting his new salary.
But I don’t think that’s the case. KMart said earlier this year he’s at the point of his career where he’s done with the rebuilding process.
“At this point in my career, I think winning and being part of a winning team is more important than starting,” Martin said.
Martin was asked if the Nuggets could fit that role of a winning franchise.
“Winning? Yeah,” he said after the players cleaned out their lockers at Pepsi Center. “But we’ll see (about signing).”
Winning? No. Denver isn’t close to contending with the Western Conference elite. They’re re-tooling post-Carmelo Anthony trade. Meanwhile, Martin turns 34 at the end of December, and he’s got bad knees. We know that. Denver knows that. Executives know that. And Martin, despite a healthy sized ego, knows that too. That’s why he’s changed his tune the way so many other players have at the end of their careers.
If he wants a winner, he’ll have to accept a couple of things: coming off the bench and making the veteran minimum. Chances are any team he wants to go to is set with its starting rotation. And even if they’re not, they probably aren’t going to rely to heavily on a 34 year-old power forward with bum knees. And winners right now are capped out. So the only way they can add someone (assuming the provision survives the negotiation process) is with a veteran minimum deal. The minimum salary last season was $1.4 million.
So let’s take a look at some of his options. These are in alphabetical order, not order of probability.
1: Boston Celtics
The Celtics will be considering everyone on the market when the season. They currently have six players under contract. If they retain Jeff Green (a restricted free agent), they will have seven. Should they let Glen Davis walk (he’s a free agent), Martin could fill the Glen Davis role off the bench. Last season, Martin shot better than Davis at every spot on the floor except from 16-23 feet (according to HoopData). And in Boston, Davis’ 16-23 foot shots were a source of consternation. Martin will play some defense, and he’s got a big mean streak…two things that could fit in well in “Beantown.”
2: Chicago Bulls
The Bulls might look to Martin to help bring a little more scoring punch to their bench. Though Chicago could probably use a little more height on its back-up front line, Martin could still step in and help. Taj Gibson’s not bad and Omer Asik had his moments, but Martin could be the type of mean defender Tom Thibodeau would like to have around. Plus, Martin provides a bit of insurance should Carlos Boozer go down again.
3: Dallas Mavericks
Martin tweeted during the Finals “What’s y’all think about me in a Mavs jersey next year!! Just a thought people.” So he’s clearly open to it. The Mavericks could use a tough power forward coming off the bench. And if they lose Tyson Chandler, then they’ll have to re-tool their whole front court. KMart could slip into one of those holes to help Dallas defend its title.
4: Los Angeles Lakers
What’s the biggest critique of the Lakers bigs? They’re seen as soft (except for Andrew Bynum). The addition of Martin could toughen up that Lakers front court. Aside from the threat of decapitation by Bynum, the popular thought is you can rough up the Lakers a little and maybe take them out of their game a little. Martin will be a more aggressive rebounder and defender in purple and gold and give them enough tough minutes off the bench to make spark some toughness out of guys who might not normally be prone to it.
5: Miami Heat
Miami’s biggest weaknesses last season were at the point, on the post, and their bench. Martin could fill a couple of those needs. He’s a definite upgrade from Juwan Howard and Jamaal Magloire. Martin’s total rebounding rate was also better than Joel Anthony’s, though Anthony’s offensive rebounding numbers were better. Martin is a better scorer and finisher, even now, than Anthony and his mean streak could help give Miami more of the edge it needs to finish the job.
6: Orlando Magic
Doesn’t seem very likely because the Magic already have Brandon Bass off the bench. The Magic’s need is for more of a slasher/mid-range guy right now to help provide some in-between scoring. It’s possible, though, that Martin could step in and patrol an area 10-feet from the basket and give Orlando more a high/low game that it never really had before. In lieu of the aforementioned slashing type player, the Magic could choose to play Martin in a high-post type of role and hope he can either hit the 10-12 footers or dump it into Dwight Howard when a defender rushes at him. Personally, I’d love to see Orlando try this option. If not with Martin, with another power forward who can fill that role.
There are other teams that could use a decent PF. New Orleans will need to replace David West if he finds a new home. The Pacers are also in the market for a good 4-man. Both were fringe playoff teams, but do they qualify as the winner Martin wants. Of course, there’s no guarantee a winner will come calling, so he’ll have to keep all of his options open. But when you consider how sparse the “veteran minimum” market always is, a player like Martin will surely draw interest from legitimate title contenders looking to get over the top. So even though a team like the New Jersey Nets might come calling if they lose Kris Humphries, I wouldn’t expect Martin to be too gung-ho about it.
When this lockout is over, you’re going to hear Martin’s name with the biggest teams out there. Chances are he’ll not only get his wish to play for a contender, he’ll have his choice of more than one.
h/t: Westwood Blogs and Nugg Love