Kenyon Martin, the former #1 overall pick and Blake Griffin of the early 2000s, has still yet to sign an NBA contract. The NBA is rapidly approaching its midway point so the interest and rumors surrounding K-Mart are starting to heat up once again as teams are looking for some extra help heading into the playoffs. So far, the only 2 serious potential suitors are the New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers. The Lakers are a serious threat to sign K-Mart since they all ready have an open roster spot and reserve big man and former Knick Jordan Hill is out for the remainder of the season. The Miami Heat might also look to sign K-Mart but they are still considering handing over a roster spot to Chris “Birdman” Andersen. Kenyon Martin is expected to sign somewhere soon and the Knicks’ window for bringing in the former all-star may be closing; especially since Martin stated he will sign the first contract that is presented to him.
There has been heavy debate as to whether or not the Knicks should bring in the former Xinjiang Flying Tiger. This is because in order to bring in Martin, the Knicks would have to release a player from the current roster since all 15 roster spots are currently filled. The most likely player to be released in the event of a K-Mart signing is reserve shooting guard James White. With Iman Shumpert set to make his return on Thursday, James White becomes even more expendable. Between Jason Kidd, Iman Shumpert, J.R. Smith and Ronnie Brewer all sharing the shooting guard duties, there is really no use for White unless the Knicks are up by 20 with 5 minutes left or if they want someone to represent the team in the Slam Dunk Contest.
Given the fact the Knicks’ big men are falling one by one, they could definitely use some help at the Power Forward and Center positions. Marcus Camby recently aggravated a foot injury that has all ready kept him out for half the season, Amar’e Stoudemire is still on a minutes limit, Kurt Thomas is somewhat useless and, at this point, who knows how long Rasheed Wallace is going to remain sidelined with his “sore foot”. Combine the lack of big men with the Knicks’ recent defensive slippage and now may be the perfect time to bring in Kenyon Martin. Despite having lost almost all of the athleticism that made him an all-star, Martin is still a stout defender and a presence in the low post who will make opposing players think twice before they invade the Knicks’ paint. It is well known that Martin can still have a major impact in games after watching him basically win the Clippers the playoff series against the Grizzlies last year. His intensity has been known to rub off on those around him and I say intensity is exactly what the Knicks are lacking right now. Kenyon Martin has also played with Carmelo Anthony, Jason Kidd, J.R. Smith, Marcus Camby and Raymond Felton for a number of years so he’d fit right in and chemistry probably wouldn’t become an issue.
The Knicks only play 2 games in the next 8 days, on Thursday in London against the Pistons and Monday in the final matchup against Kenyon Martin’s former Nets team in The Garden. If the Knicks do not sign Kenyon Martin by the end of that 8 day stretch, I cannot see the Knicks bringing him in at all unless it is revealed that Wallace’s health is still not improving. At this point in his career, Kenyon Martin cannot have any major impact on a team but he can provide everything the Knicks have been lacking in the last month: intensity, toughness and defense. While nothing is imminent, we should keep a close eye on the Kenyon Martin situation and what develops over the coming days. If he does end up signing somewhere, hopefully he’ll be sporting the blue and orange.