2015-16 Season

Jon Krawczynski: Wolves “looking to trade Kevin Martin”


Wednesday night, Jon Krawczynski finally offered some concrete reporting on something that we’ve been speculating about since the preseason – Kevin Martin is being made available in trade talks:

Back at media day, as you may recall, Kevin Martin had some pretty adamant thoughts regarding whether or not he should be a starter or the sixth man this season, saying: “I know where I stand among shooting guards in this league, so no, there’s no argument to be made (for me coming off the bench).”

A week and a half later, Sam Mitchell told Sirius XM radio that Zach LaVine would open the season as the starting shooting guard, touching off a buzz of rumors regarding a possible trade. Ultimately, things didn’t quite work out that way – Martin has come off the bench for 11 of his 23 appearances, and hasn’t made a peep, at least publicly, about being unhappy doing so. He was supplanted by a fellow veteran (Tayshaun Prince) in the starting lineup, which may have made the bitter pill a bit easier to swallow.

Meanwhile, as he alternates between the starting lineup and the bench, K-Mart is slogging through the worst statistical season of his career (save his rookie season in Sacramento, when he was an end-of-the-bench afterthought). Martin’s field goal percentage (36.7%) is the worst he’s posted in his 12 NBA seasons. It’s been a decade since he’s scored or assisted at such a low rate. He spends much of his time hunting for contact and coming off screens to shoot midrange jumpers, and he’s been only marginally successful at each endeavor, all while bogging down the offense. His defense, which has always been a liability, continues to be a problem. The Wolves are 1.5 points per 100 possessions better on defense when he’s on the bench.

So… what could Minnesota get for him in a deal? What’s the time frame for a trade to be completed? Will he be a problem between now and then?

The first two questions are impossible, because anytime anyone thinks they know anything about this stuff, or has a neat little trade idea, it never ever ever ever ever ever ever ever works out that way. Taking a shot in the dark, I’d say a protected first is pretty pie-in-the-sky at this point – expect a Corey Brewer-type return (a fringe young player and a 2nd round pick). Anything more than that would be a real coup. Martin, despite his struggles this season, could be a pretty useful player in the right situation. But the odds of a playoff getting desperate and ponying up anything of real value to add him are pretty low. He’ll be 33 in February and still has a player option for 2016-17.

One thing I feel pretty confident about – he won’t be a “problem” until the deadline, or even if he ends up staying put. He’s a professional, he’s enjoyed his time in Minnesota, and there’s a scary man named Kevin Garnett who will keep him in line if he happens to step outside it. I’m not confident of much regarding the inner workings of the team, but I’m pretty confident in that.

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12 thoughts on “Jon Krawczynski: Wolves “looking to trade Kevin Martin”

  1. I agree it is unlikely that we would get much for KMart. The thing is, we kind of need his skills (at least when he is on) — reasonably reliable scoring off the bench. If Zach is moved into the starting line up, we basically do not have a back-up shooting guard. Some of this can be handled with good rotations of Zach and Wiggins (which may be asking a bit much of Mitchell). Bazz is not a SG. I would be in favor of trading KMart only if we get a SG in return or draft picks and can take a chance on someone from the D-League.

    1. Hey Frank –

      No, you weren’t banned! When we updated the site recently, our comment section went a little haywire, and now I have to approve random comments for some reason. I apologize for the wait, but you should be free to post now.



  2. KMart is going at some point, we all knew that going in. I’ll bet most Wolves followers suspected he wouldn’t last the whole season. Part of the problem is that we could actually use the guy, but with his style plus the coaching staff’s inability to use him in the right portion, he tends to cause as much bad as good on the team. And for what we are paying him, that makes a trade for about anything look pretty tempting. It’s hard to know what we’ll get and of course that changes everything about the value of this option. With the current roster, it is tough, though. We have only one pure 2 other than Martin, LaVine, and he’s needed (as the roster exists today) as a back-up point sometimes. Wiggins isn’t a pure 2 in my opinion. In fact I think he’s more a 3 than not. Shabazz is a no position player at this point. If he shot better and spread the floor better, perhaps he could be a reliable, idiosyncratic 2 off the bench, but right now he’s just Bazz. It would be nice to get a young, no-name 3 threat backup 2 for Martin. Maybe a smallish D and 3 two guard, if there is such a thing. Not a guy of Martin’s skill and height, but a guy who doesn’t demand a role and who is consistent as a decision maker and 3 point threat as a bench 2. That’s a fantasy, though. The reality is this roster has a lot of promise, but we still need to clean house some. Martin is cobwebs.

    1. Wiggins is 6’8″, a mediocre ball handler, and can’t shoot threes well. Doesn’t sound like an NBA 2 to me… He could be someday. I do think he has the right body type and talent level to play either position well when he develops the correct skills.

  3. So far, on 3s to tie or take the lead in the 4th quarter/OT, Martin has more makes than the rest of the team combined (3/3, 2/20). Only he, Dieng, Rudez, and Bjelica shoot at least 50% on 4th/OT shots to tie or take the lead. This season may be a small sample size, but he had a 53.6% eFG% last season in those same situations. So if a trade happens, I’ll be sad to see him go. He’s still a very good catch-and-shoot threat on a team lacking even mediocre ones, and their lack of offensive structure puts too much responsibility on him to score on isos when that’s been his biggest offensive weakness. It’s reminiscent of being mad at JJ Barea because he played like what he was: a tiny SG. Most players age 28+ are who they’ll ever be, and it’s up to the coaches to use them well.

    Young players, however, are still unmolded clay, which is why this whole component of freeing up 2-guard minutes for Wiggins is so overblown. They need skilled and multifaceted players who can defend multiple positions if they ever want to be a serious threat. Nobody cares what Draymond Green “looks like” when he’s pushing the ball in transition and effectively guarding guys 5-8 inches taller than him. If Wiggins wants to be an efficient and consistent force, he should be working towards playing 2-4 and guarding 1-4, much like Towns should be working on playing 4s and 5s on both ends, LaVine should be guarding 1-3, Dieng should be honing that corner 3 and guarding 4s, and Muhammad should consider himself a 2-4 on both ends.

  4. Is Lorenzo Brown still available? I vote to bring him back and continue to let Tyus develop in the D-League. He may not be the 3 point threat that Martin is, but defensively on the wings the Wolves are getting killed right now giving up a 3 point percentage that is outrageous the last 5-6 games. Brown would be a major upgrade in the defensive category and he’s 6’5″, along with a sneaky athleticism. Moving Wiggins back the 3 and having Rubio, LaVine, Miller, and Brown play 1 or 2 is a good defensive group that could become a lot better.

    1. Totally agree that Lorenzo Brown belongs on this roster and Tyus in the D-League.

      But c’mon now. “…LaVine, Miller… a good defensive group.” lol lol lol

      1. LaVine has become a lot better defender than I expected him to at this point in his career. He struggles with pick and roll defense like all young players to. As a one on one wing defensive player LaVine is still solid, Miller I’ll give you though. “Good” is a stretch for him, so average might be better. None of our wings defend at an elite level, but going from the 4 wings we have now (Rubio, LaVine, Miller, and Martin) it would be a lot better swapping Brown for Martin.

        I guess I just have a soft spot for Lorenzo Brown and just wanted him on the roster at the end of the preseason… So i’m just holding out hope they sign him back.

        1. you would have to cut someone to bring Brown back. Also look up the stats Tyus is putting up in the D league. He is head and shoulders their best player. http://idaho.dleague.nba.com/ So I would expect a call up soon. Especially if we keep digging a hole this season.

          About K-Mart, I think there are some things they could do with him to add a solid 4 but I am not sold yet that the Wolves (management/coaching) are that interested in winning this year. if the pick drops to 12 and under they not only get to keep their #1 pick this year but that owed pick turns into a couple of future #2’s. So there is definitely some dubious motivation to drop a few games.

          BUT if they wanted to win this year here is my suggested trade:

          Martin to Cleveland for their trade exception, that would free up space to take Ryan Anderson’s 1 year contract from New Orleans + future #1 to the Pelicans. Pelicans are toast this year this frees up cap space for them. Ryan gives us the stretch 4 we desperately need.

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