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:
AP Source: With Zach LaVine exhibiting scoring chops and Andrew Wiggins also playing SG, #TWolves now looking to trade Kevin Martin.
— Jon Krawczynski (@APkrawczynski) December 17, 2015
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.