Kevin Martin is an unrestricted free agent this summer after playing one season with the Oklahoma City Thunder last season.
Martin made over $12 million last year in the final year of his contract and will see a big pay cut next season no matter where he goes.
Yahoo! Sports is reporting that six teams, including the Thunder, will be expressing interest in Martin this summer.
Thunder G Kevin Martin expected to get interest from OKC, Milwaukee, New Orleans, Minnesota, Dallas and Detroit, source tells Y! Sports.
— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) June 30, 2013
The Thunder really won’t be able to offer Martin much more than $5 million per year and that may even be generous. The Thunder want to remain under the luxury tax at all costs and keeping Martin will make that very difficult.
Martin has said that he loves OKC and has hinted that he would be willing to take less money to stay with the Thunder. Martin would definitely have to take much less to stay with the Thunder than what these five other teams would be willing to offer him.
Only Milwaukee made the playoffs of the other five teams. Minnesota, Dallas and New Orleans could all be in the run to make it to the playoffs next year. The Thunder are by far the most attractive destination if winning is your number one priority.
If the NBA Draft was any indication, the Thunder are committed to Jeremy Lamb. Lamb should be able to step into Martin’s role next season and provide at least some of what Martin did, and potentially even more down the road.
The question is if the Thunder are ready to make that transition starting next season or if they think they need Martin to win a title.
Unfortunately, we were unable to see the true playoff potential of the Thunder this season since Russell Westbrook got injured. Had the Thunder, at full strength, lost to the Spurs in the conference finals or the Grizzlies in the second round, then parting ways with Martin would be made easier.
If management believes the Thunder could have won the title this season if Westbrook was healthy, then bringing Martin back for a few more years might make sense.
I doubt they feel that way though and the most likely thing right now is that Martin will be wearing a uniform that does not read Thunder next season.