Kevin Martin registered his lowest points per game average in nine seasons last year with the Thunder, though his role there was a bit different than it had been with other teams in seasons past.
Martin was tasked with a sixth man role in Oklahoma City, after playing starter’s minutes essentially his entire career before getting there. He had a largely up and down season, and ultimately opted to take the cash by signing a four-year deal with the Timberwolves.
But it appears he at least considered staying with the Thunder for less money, due to the fact that they are near the top of the list of teams that are in the championship conversation.
[Martin] chose the Wolves’ four-year offer worth nearly $28 million over a Thunder proposal that was significantly restricted by the luxury tax. Asked if he seriously considered returning to Thunder for relatively little money but the chance to win a championship, he said, “Always. I also feel like I found the same thing with Minnesota being younger. They’ve had some injuries over the years, but they’re a good team, too. I made a decision and I think it’s a great one. I learned from Oklahoma CIty, they’re a great organization. The way KD and Russ approach the game, I think that’s something I’ll bring to Minnesota.”
Minnesota has a lot of interesting pieces in Kevin Love, Ricky Rubio, and potentially Nikola Pekovic if he re-signs as expected. But they’re nowhere near the level of proven success that the Thunder have achieved — at least not yet.
It’s hard to blame Martin for taking the higher-dollar offer that was presented, but let’s not pretend that the Timberwolves are anywhere near as close to contending for a title as a healthy Thunder team would be with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook both firmly in the picture.