Free agent big-man Elton Brand reportedly is unlikely to sign with the New York Knicks, according to a source close to him.
Last week, the Knicks supposedly were preparing to make an offer to Brand. At this point, though, the 34-year-old former No. 1 overall draft-pick is pursuing offers from several other teams who can offer more money.
With that in mind, the Knicks will likely and most definitely should turn their attention to re-signing Kenyon Martin. The team could pay him the $1.7 million remaining on their mini mid-level exception. They could also use a veteran’s minimum contract to lock him up, like they did last season. That is all the funds the Knicks have left to sign free agents. According to a source close to the situation, Martin is not close to making a decision on which team to sign with.
While the Knicks are also interested in fifth-year man Brandon Wright, who spent the last two seasons with the Dallas Mavericks, they most likely are not the front-runner to sign him either because of the financial constraints mentioned above.
This is why 6-foot-9 Martin should be their top priority. Last season, he became an invaluable piece to a 54-win Knicks team after he signed two 10-day contracts. He saved their frontline after Kurt Thomas, Rasheed Wallace and Amare Stoudemire all missed significant time in the second half of the season due to injury. He electrified the Garden crowd with his relentless effort on the glass and on the defensive end along with some pretty cool alley-oops. In 18 games last season, he average 7.2 points-per-game and 5.3 rebounds-per-game.
Yes, he is 35, not 25. He no longer has the quickness to be the dominant post player he used to be and his jump shot is long gone. However, he is the financially viable option the Knicks have and has proven that he can spell Tyson Chandler as the heart of the defense.