With the Oklahoma City Thunder stumbling out of the gates, it’s hard not to look at some of their new rotation players as part of the reason why.
When the Thunder traded James Harden to the Houston Rockets a little over a week ago, they didn’t just part ways with Harden but also backup center Cole Aldrich.
Aldrich’s replacement so far: Hasheem Thabeet.
Thabeet hasn’t been totally awful so far this season but he does seem to be a pretty big downgrade for the Thunder at the moment. It’s especially easy to notice this while there is a free agent available who would be a great addition to this Thunder team.
Kenyon Martin is still a free agent and he doesn’t know why.
“There is a notion about me that is not accurate at all — I don’t know who started it or where it came from — that people can’t control me,” Martin told Yahoo! Sports. “I don’t understand. Have I had my issues like a lot of other people? Yeah. But I’m getting back that people think they can’t control me, that if I don’t play I’m going to explode, or I can turn a locker room. In 12 years there was not one day where I told one guy to dislike anybody. If you ask guys who I’ve played with that know me, they know what it is and know I’m about winning basketball games and competing.”
The idea of signing Martin in OKC was first brought up by Zorgon over at the SB Nation blog Welcome to Loud City today.
Kenyon Martin could provide the things Nick Collison can’t. He can be a semi-viable scoring option on a night where he has a matchup advantage. He has the bulk to back his defender down, while Collison only scores off of cuts to the basket. He has decent range, and a jumper that’s at least as consistent as Ibaka’s. Most of all, there are nights where he could be his former self, drop a double-double, and provide that extra push to help the Thunder win games. And, when you get right down to it, he pretty much eclipses Hasheem Thabeet in every sense of the word (except height….and length).
I have to totally agree with Zorgon on this. Martin would fit in just fine with the Thunder and be a huge upgrade over what they have right now.
Martin played in 42 games for the Clippers last season and averaged 5.2 points and 4.3 rebounds per game. He blocked more shots per 36 minutes than he has since the 2001-02 season.
Martin is a player that does not need the ball or plays to be called for him to make an impact. He is excellent at spacing the floor in the pick-and-roll and finding the right spot to be ready for a pass and dunk or rebounding position.
The Thunder have room on their roster right now too with just 14 players under contract. But signing Martin would put them close to this season’s luxury tax which obviously OKC does not want to do.
It’s something the Thunder should consider though for sure. Unless Scott Brooks is planning on Perry Jones III being ready to be a part of the rotation by the end of the year, things just cannot go on with Thabeet getting minutes while someone like Martin is just sitting unsigned as a free agent.