Kevin Martin will be an unrestricted free agent this summer and the Oklahoma City Thunder will have to decide if they want to try and re-sign him.
Martin made $12 million this season and would have to take a major pay cut to remain with the Thunder going forward. Martin has been very vocal in announcing how much he loves playing in OKC and that he would love to stay with the team past this season.
The problem is that with Serge Ibaka’s extension kicking in, he will be going from a rookie contract to $12.25 million next season. Most of the other players will also be making a little more next season as well.
Martin will likely be able to get $6-7 million somewhere else in free agency. The Thunder probably won’t be able to offer him even $5 million per year and anything less than that would be an insult to Martin.
Martin is not worth the price if it would put the Thunder into the luxury tax, which OKC would like to avoid at all costs.
The Thunder won a franchise-record 60 games this season and before the injury to Russell Westbrook, looked to be the favorites in the Western Conference. Martin averaged 14.0 points per game in the regular season and shot 45.0 percent from the field and 42.6 percent from downtown.
In the playoffs, Martin averaged 14.0 points per game as well but saw his shooting percentages drop to 38.0 percent from the field and 37.0 percent from the three-point line.
This decline in the playoffs, where the competition is tougher and the Thunder played the Memphis Grizzlies in the second round, was expected from Martin if you watched him in the regular season. It’s not that he shies away from tougher competition as much as it is that his game is much less effective against sound defense.
Martin feasts off open spot-up looks, getting fouled in the midrange on drives to the basket in which he initiates the contact and the fastbreak. All three of those things are much less frequent in the playoffs.
With the main goal of this franchise being to win a championship in the very near future, Martin seems like less of a need. The Thunder might take another step back in the regular season with his absence but replacing his output in the playoffs should not be too difficult.
Martin was for the most part a delight this season in OKC. When he played well, it was great to watch. He loved being here and was fully committed to the team and winning.
But the reality is that the Thunder don’t need him enough to pay him this summer. Martin will be remembered as a one-year rental from the James Harden trade in a season that the Thunder didn’t get past the second round.