Mavs' Kevin Martin Buyout Idea Is Dead
As the NBA trade deadline approached, we knew Dallas was limited in what it could due specific to that deadline. There is little ammunition to do much ... and a trade for somebody like Kevin Martin (an incorrect rumored connection first made by SI.com) was undesirable, as we noted a week ago, because of Martin's contract and what it would do negatively to Dallas' summer cap plans.
Martin is owed $14.3 million over the next two seasons. At that rate, Dallas wouldn't even do a "negative'' trade, i.e., give up "less than nothing.'' (Like, say, Raymond Felton.)
But what if Martin gets a buyout, like Amare Stoudemire got from the Knicks? And like Larry Sanders is getting from the Bucks.
An NBA source close to the Martin situation tells DB.com that in that event, Dallas will be in on Martin, a player the Mavs have long thought highly of, and see now as a valuable asset as a scorer off the bench.
UPDATE: An NBA source tells DB.com in the noon hour that the Mavs' hopes there are all-but dead, apparently in the wake of the KG-Young trade. ... The Young trade representing enough of a salary dump to not do anything with Martin.
Martin is 32 and is in his 11th NBA year of NBA experience, but there are no negatives there. He's the Timberwolves' leading scorer at 20.5 points per game, and he's got a clutch reputation. Indeed, Timberwolves coach Flip Saunders is on-record as wishing to retain Martin ... as any coach would be.
But the Timberwolves are rebuilding again, and Martin may not fit. So how does he fit for the Dallas Mavericks? We haven't had all these questions answered for us yet. He is not a strong defensive player and he's long expressed a desire to remain an NBA starter. (Might he be able to do that elsewhere, like with the Clippers?) But clearly, the Mavs have convinced themselves that these are manageable issues -- especially if Martin is made to see the value of being on a contender and maybe told of the chance he'll get to be a closer.
A clever idea. ... now all-but dead.
Larry Sanders is 6-11, with a 7-6 wingspan, desirable physical dimensions for a center. ... but not a desirable mindset as a basketball player. Even now, as he's getting his Bucks buyout, there are reports (via Yahoo) that he has no plans on this time to return to the NBA.
The Mavs want to know.
In the 2012-13 season Sanders appeared to be the next emerging big-man star, when he became a starter and averaged about 10 points, 10 rebounds, and three blocks per game for the Bucks. In August 2013 Milwaukee eagerly signed him to a $44-mil extension that would begin in the 2014-15 season.
But from that point, instead of him taking the next step to stardom as expected, his production went down and the problems began. In 2013-14, he only played in 23 games, due to drug and injury issues, and his production went down to 8 points, 7 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks per game. Even more troubling, whispers of attitude issues and clashes with coaches leaked out.
This season his production shriveled further, there was another drug suspension, and at one point he was exiled from the Bucks to take care of “personal issues.” (One report hinted that the “personal issues” may have been an unwillingness to practice and prepare, and another that he simply wanted to retire from basketball entirely).
Now, only about 18 months after signing that big deal, and only four months into his first season under that contract, the Bucks are pulling the plug and buying out his entire contract.
Whether Sanders can be an answer for the Mavs is hazy. On the plus side of the ledger is that he should come cheap, he’s played well in the past, he’s young, and the Mavs need a center. On the other hand, a player has to be a huge problem for a team to pay him that much money to go away. The questions of his desire to play and his history of drug suspensions (plural) are huge. The Mavs also have to consider the fact that, at least once, Sanders and Monta Ellis had a fight as teammates – perhaps that was a one-time conflict, but perhaps not.
At this point, unless he really doesn’t want to play basketball, Sanders will look for a rest-of-season deal at the minimum (after all, he’s already getting paid big money by Milwaukee). He needs to rebuild his reputation and grow as a player, before we get to the summer when teams will have plenty of money to spend in free agency. That means there’s no upside for Sanders to sign in a place that won’t work for him or the team. The trick will be to find a fit.
And the Mavs' great relationship with agent Happy Walters offers a huge advantage here. If they have some interest, the key for the Mavs to get a good read on Sanders probably centers around their ability to find out his mindset, and the open lines of communication with Walters should get them an honest appraisal. And, if he is a fit, that relationship should also put the Mavs right at the front of the line.
All of that is why DB.com was able to report in Monday's premium "Trade Rumor Central'' section that the Mavs front office had not at that time formed an opinion on the player but would be relying on the psychological expertise of the staff to help the club do so.
Maybe Sanders can be an answer here, or maybe he can’t. But the Mavs will be working with the right guy, in figuring it out, and that promises to offer them a huge advantage here as they work to add talent in their chase for another ring. ... and we have already proposed our idea of a two-year cheap "image-rehab'' contract in Dallas.
But first, Larry Sanders must decide if he'd rather be an NBA participant ... or an NBA drug-problem participant.
Amare Stoudemire is official and is on his way ... and Dallas has requested waivers on Ricky Ledo ... Tyson Chandler says he'll play Thursday even though his ankle is not 100 percent ... Rajon Rondo will also play at OKC on Thursday and is tinkering with a mask vs. goggles vs. nothing to protect his facial damage. ... Last man in the gym today? Dirk. Oh, and Holger.
“I’m excited to be a part of a first-class organization,” said Stoudemire, who will wear jersey No. 1. “To play alongside Dirk Nowitzki, Tyson Chandler and other great players, I think it’s a tremendous opportunity for me to compete for a championship.”
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