Kenyon Martin was back on an NBA court Wednesday night, playing his first game as a member of the New York Knicks. He played just five minutes and had zeros across the box score, but with the news that Rasheed Wallace is out for the rest of the regular season (at least) the odds Martin eventually gets picked up by the Knicks for the rest of the season is high.
Martin was unspectacular for the Clippers last season — 5.2 points and 4.3 rebounds a game with a PER of 9.9, but he played solid defense for them. Combine the stats with his age (35) and his reputation for being disruptive in the locker room and the only offers that came his way in the off-season were for the league minimum. And he wanted to be paid more, so he shot those down. The problem was no new ones came.
Martin was on the sidelines all season until the Knicks called, and the former No. 1 overall pick in 2000 told Newsday that was humbling.
“It humbles you,” Martin said. “I know it humbled me. I can’t speak on the next man. I didn’t think I played all that bad last year with the Clippers, helped them get out of the first round, was a major part of that. Stranger things have happened.
“It was something that was unexpected, of course, took the time to get my mind around it. I went through every emotion — mad, sad, upset, confused. You name it, I went through it.”
Martin isn’t going to be a game changer for the Knicks, but New York is hoping he and a returning Marcus Camby can provide some front-line depth. And after all he went through, Martin might accept that role gladly.