Once again Kevin Martin has come out and talked about how much he loves playing for the Oklahoma City Thunder and that he will be willing to take less money this summer to re-sign with OKC.
“My perception would be happiness and a good fit basketball-wise,” Martin said. “I’m in a situation that after nine years I don’t have to chase money. So I think that part goes into a lot of guys’ minds when it happens. But for me, I found a new happiness here when I got traded here. It feels like a good fit. But we’ll see when it comes around.
“I think that’s where it just comes down to, what would you be happy with? And I love being a major piece on a championship-caliber team. I’m enjoying the ride.
It is very obvious that Martin will have to sacrifice a lot of money to stay in Oklahoma City. He is making over $12 million per year this season and will have to accept a contract making less than half of that to realistically stay with the Thunder.
It might not even come down to what Martin is willing to sacrifice though. Martin still needs to prove himself in the playoffs and considering his play of late, does anyone even think he will?
Martin is really only good against bad teams. Against the Charlottes and Orlandos of the league, he will be moving all over the place on offense, getting to the line and knocking down threes.
When the Thunder play San Antonio or Memphis, Martin all but disappears. He becomes such a nonfactor that Scott Brooks has basically only been playing him half of the game the past few weeks and going with Thabo Sefolosha or even Reggie Jackson to close out games instead.
If Martin, who has only played in six playoff games in his career, performs poorly these playoffs, couldn’t you see the Thunder just deciding to cut him loose and basically give up on him?
That really feels like the most likely scenario right now. If Martin is instead clutch in the playoffs, playing crunch time and averaging 15-plus points per game, that would be very surprising.
If you had to bet on how the season is going to end for the Thunder this year, you would bet that they would lose in either the Western Conference Finals or NBA Finals with everyone talking about how trading James Harden cost them a chance to win it all.
If this happens or something close to this plays out, Martin is gone. The Thunder have rookie Jeremy Lamb waiting to step into Martin’s role and if Martin doesn’t come through in the playoffs, the Thunder will look at the situation as picking Lamb over Martin as the more sensible choice.
Martin will get to choose whether he wants to stay in OKC or not. But it won’t be based on how much money he is willing to sacrifice. He will have to earn his right to stay in OKC by stepping up his game in the playoffs.