Former Clippers forward Kenyon Martin has reportedly expressed interest… (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles…)
This is the 25th post in a series focusing on this year's free-agent class.
Free agent: Kenyon Martin, power forward
Former team: Clippers
Type of free agent: Unrestricted
Positives: The Lakers may have enough depth in their front court. But Martin's presence makes them substantially better. Martin plays strong defense as a bruising power forward and provides an emotional lift. Considering Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol have lacked aggression at times, Martin would help infuse more toughness in that unit. Martin's arrival would also come in handy if the Lakers lumped Josh McRoberts as a throw-in regarding a trade.
Such a move would also spur a trickle-down affect that would mostly help the Lakers. Antawn Jamison could then play more at small forward to back up Metta World Peace. Meanwhile, Devin Ebanks could slide over as backup shooting guard, giving the Lakers an insurance policy in case they can't sign a definitive back court player.
Negatives: The Lakers have enough depth in their front court, and it's hard to see where he'd receive minutes. Bynum and Gasol will play around 35 minutes a game, leaving Lakers Coach Mike Brown with a tough task in splitting minutes for Martin, Jordan Hill and Jamison.
It's likely Martin wouldn't provide much more offensively than his season average last year with the Clippers (5.2 points, 4.3 rebounds). That's not an exact knock on his game. Martin's value mostly traces to his on-court intensity and toughness. But the Lakers are in more need of offensive production from the bench. Jamison and Hill are more suited to provide that.
Verdict: Sports Illustrated reported Martin is interested in the Lakers and the Nets, but that he won't accept the veteran's minimum. As roles players such as Martin are painfully finding out, the new labor deal has made NBA teams more reluctant to give much beyond short-term deals to role players so that it minimizes the punitive luxury tax measures. So it may not really matter what Martin wants.
Acquiring Martin would be a great move. But the Lakers' more pressing needs involve the back court. Unless they find a way to trade McRoberts, the Lakers are better suited at finding a backup shooting guard.
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Free-agent profile: Tracy McGrady
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