Mar 9, 2013; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks power forward Kenyon Martin (3) dunks against the Utah Jazz during the first half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

New York Knicks Rumors: Is Kenyon Martin playing his way out of New York?

You have to give New York Knicks forward Kenyon Martin some credit.

Sometimes when opportunity presents itself you have to take advantage of it and that is exactly what Martin has been doing.

Mar 23, 2013; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks power forward Kenyon Martin (3) shoots a free throw during the third quarter against the Toronto Raptors at Madison Square Garden. Knicks won 110-84. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

K-Mart sat around unsigned this season until the trade deadline when the Knicks came calling. Once they did, Martin’s recent play isn’t just about helping his new team win, it’s also about auditioning for a job next season. With what he has done as of late, there is no way that Martin won’t be on some team’s roster at the beginning of next season.

He hopes it is with the Knicks.

Martin has made his feeling felt about wanting to return to the Big Apple next season, but going forward you have to wonder if the feeling will be mutual.

With Kurt Thomas and Rasheed Wallace likely to retire at the end of the season and Amar’e Stoudemire and Marcus Camby continually banged up, the need will be there as the Knicks could certainly use a post presence such as K-Mart at both ends of the floor.

Martin works very well in the pick-and-roll, excels on put backs and alongside Tyson Chandler, helps the Knicks protect the rim very well.

But at the end of the day, it will all come down to money.

The Knicks likely won’t be able to offer Martin much more than the minimum next season, even if a couple of their current vets hang up their sneakers.

J.R. Smith has a player option for next season and with the year he is having, he is all but assured to opt out and seek much more than the $2.9 million he would be owed.  You would have to think that freeing up some money for Smith will be priority No. 1 in the offseason.

Then there is the fact that Martin will be 36 next season.

Watching the injuries pile up this season, you have to wonder if the Knicks will shy away from aging veterans in the future, even if Mike Woodson prefers them over younger players.

There is a reason that Martin sat out most of the season and that is the fact that he was seeking a contract that matched what he felt his value was. Now that he is proving his value, you would have to think that some team will throw Martin decent money next year. Unfortunately, given the fact that they are above the tax line, it likely won’t be the Knicks.

K-Mart is a guy that I would love to see back with the Knicks next season, but the better he plays the remainder of the season; he just may be playing his way out of the Big Apple.

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Tags: Kenyon Martin New York Knicks New York Knicks Rumors

  • Paul Chen

    JR Smith qualifies for the Early Bird Exception.
    That means the Knicks can offer him a new contract between 2 and 4 years starting at either 175% of his current salary or 104.5% of the current NBA ‘average salary’…whichever is greater (from Larry Coon’s NBA CBA page)…followed by a max of 7.5% raise per year of that contract. The ‘average salary’ has yet to be determined (doesn’t happen until a July audit) but is estimated to be at $5.276 million.
    Assuming the average salary is that, the Knicks can, at max, offer JR Smith a 4 year deal worth a total of 23.6 million.
    What they can do if JR Smith and the Knicks do agree to this is to sign a 2 year deal for roughly $11 million with a player option after the 1st year. This would give JR Smith some security over just signing a 1 year deal if he gets injured, but allows him the option of opting out so the Knicks can resign him using the Full Bird exception.
    Under Full Bird rights the Knicks can then resign him to a contract of up to 5 years starting at the max salary for a player with his years of service (max salary for 2014-2015 has yet to be determined but for 2012-2013 it was $19,136,250) and with upto 7.5% raises per year.
    In any case…assuming that the Knicks use the Early Bird exception on him (if JR Smith wants to return, it wouldn’t make sense for Smith and the Knicks to not use the Early Bird since it gets him the most money)….they would NOT need to use any portion of the mini-MLE (or taxpayer midlevel exception) on Smith and….pertaining to this article…would be able to offer it to Kenyon Martin. The taxpayer midlevel exeption would by a max of 3 years starting at $3.183 million with raises of upto 4% per year. That would make the max they can offer Martin, assuming they want to keep him and Martin wants as much as the Knicks can offer to stay, is 3 year $9.93 million contract.
    So the only way they’d only be able to offer Kenyon Martin the vet minimum is if: a) they offered the mini-midlevel to someone else, b) they do not want Kenyon Martin back (which offering him just the vet minimum pretty much will guarantee).