Yesterday’s trade deadline was fairly anticlimactic, with very few players actually being traded. The few that did change teams were hardly stand-out names, or players to make huge differences for their new franchises. Oddly, perhaps the most news-catching move of all was the Knicks’ decision to move Ronnie Brewer to Oklahoma City (for their 2014 second-round draft pick), and use the available roster spot to sign Kenyon Martin to a ten-day contract.
Martin has been unable to find a home this season, either asking for too much money during the offseason, or struggling to find any teams willing to bring him aboard mid-year. His last stint in the NBA was with the Los Angeles Clippers last year where he signed on halfway through the season again, and went on to average 5.2 points, 4.3 rebounds, 1 steal, and 1 block in 22 minutes per game.
The Clippers were generally better with Martin off the court, however when he was on the court, they were still better than their opponents in field goal percentage, offensive efficiency, defensive rebounding, steals, and blocks. That Martin was still able to help the Clippers perform better than their opponents, despite missing training camp and half the season, says something about his potential on-court worth.
Many Knicks fans were upset about giving up Ronnie Brewer – a player whose worth may have been important on defense come playoff time – and signing on an even older, injury-prone backup power forward. However, Martin could prove to be more valuable than fans think, especially if he’s in shape.
He’s close and has played with Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith before, meaning the learning curve will be slightly easier. Likewise, at the very least, the Knicks will get a backup forward who is taking the spot of two players who aren’t even playing. Unless Martin actually hurts the team in drastic ways while he plays, he is currently an upgrade over Marcus Camby and Rasheed Wallace.
Finally, at the very worst, the Knicks only have to deal with him for ten days before his contract is voided and they can cut hm. If Martin can’t bring anything to the team, it will only be for a very short period, and then the Knicks can go and look at other options.