The Olympics have taken center stage in the basketball world for now, but once they’re over, it’s going to be time to start thinking about the next NBA season. I know, quick turnaround, huh?
Most of the big free agents signed with teams (new and old) before the Olympics started, but there are still a few players left out there that could help a team be successful.
One of the better players left is Kenyon Martin. Martin has had his attitude and disciplinary problems in the past, but he seemingly moved past that last season with the Clippers. He did have a little drama leaving China after playing part of a season overseas during the lockout, but everyone kind of forgot about that.
The point is that Martin can be a solid player off the bench for a number of NBA teams looking for some size and an enforcer. Martin doesn’t put up the monster stats, but he’s an emotional, veteran leader. The problem right now seems to be that K-Mart might be thinking he’s worth more than he is.
“ sources said the 34-year-old power forward is holding up this later stage of the hiring process for frontcourt free agents, with the Lakers and the Nets among the teams he's considering and negotiation leverage seemingly gone because so many of his colleagues seem willing to take minimum deals.”
The new deal that the players union and the owners (eventually) worked out last offseason means that teams are more wary of the salary cap and not as willing to spend the big bucks on role players. This is bad news for players like Martin who have demanded a higher salary than most to come off the bench. Since players want to have a job, other guys are settling for the smaller contracts just to make sure they have a paycheck.
So what happens to guys like Martin who deserve a little bit more than the average role player? I imagine someone will pay him what he wants. If he’s really interested in playing for the Lakers or the Nets, the two parties can probably work something out. He better hope so anyway, I don’t think he’ll be welcome back in China.