Now that the New York Knicks lost out on Elton Brand, Brandon Wright and Samuel Dalembert, many fans are wondering why it is taking so long for them to re-sign Kenyon Martin. The 35-year-old big man was an excellent late-season acquisition last year, averaging 7.2 points, 5.3 rebounds and nearly one block per game in 24 minutes per game off the bench. Multiple members of the organization said that he “saved our season” with his defensive intensity, electrifying dunks and overall energy. With all that said, it seemed like it would be an automatic lock for him to return to the orange and blue.
However, because of the NBA‘s new Collective Bargaining Agreement, which involves a harder salary cap and higher luxury-tax penalties for teams that exceed that salary cap, some players and teams are waiting longer to sign this summer, each with their own agenda. Players are holding out for the $3.18 million mini mid-level contract, and teams are hoping players will end up accepting the less-lucrative veteran’s minimum.
Indications still point to Martin remaining in a Knicks uniform, but he could still believe he is in the market for a $3 million contract. The Knicks can only offer him the veteran’s minimum, as they used their mini mid-level exception on Pablo Prigioni and Metta World Peace. They could be exploring cheaper alternatives who have fresher legs in preparation for the possibility that Martin walks, such as 22-year-old Summer League standout Jeremy Tyler.
Knicks head coach Mike Woodson has preferred veterans (hence the Rasheed Wallace and Kurt Thomas signings last season), but he may be forced to develop one or two young big men this upcoming season as a result of the waiting game being played between the Knicks and Martin.