As the 30-28 Mavs try to recover from having lost six of eight in February with a visit tonight from Denver (7:30 tip and the GameThread here on DB.com Boards), they are also interested in beefing up their lineup. They’ve done so once post-trade deadline with the signing to a $2.1-million room-MLE deal of big man David Lee.
And now they are considering a similar pursuit of Kevin Martin, assuming he gets his buyout from Minnesota — and gets it done before the March 1 deadline required to make him playoff-eligible with his new club.
So why aren’t the Mavs falling all over themselves to snag Martin, sources instead labeling it a “possible’’ pursuit?
One is the reality of the market. There are almost certain to be other bidders who won’t be luring him with money but rather with a better shot at a title. The Mavs can promise “chemistry’’ here (something David Lee cited as among his reasons for picking Dallas) but they cannot promise that. (The same "realities of the market'' explains why sources tell us the Mavs aren't deeply involved in the Joe Johnson chase, as we reported on Thursday.)
Two is any future desire Martin has to hook up with a team for a longer term. His agent is the Mavs-friendly Dan Fegan and that’s a good thing. But if another club wishes to create a contractual future with Martin, Dallas loses out.
The reason Martin will be allowed to exit Minnesota is so they can avoid Martin exercising a player's option on his contract this summer that will guarantee him $7.4 million for next season. A divorce there guarantees the Wolves $7.4 million of cap room. Similarly, Dallas doesn’t likely want to tie up too much money in a 33-year-old role player.
And three … well, Martin is a 33-year-old role player who this year isn’t playing that role very well. Martin played only four minutes in Wednesday's loss at Toronto. Despite being 6-7, he doesn’t rebound or play defense. And while he’s heralded as an excellent shooter (he’s averaged 17.6 points and 38.5 percent from the arc in his career), this season he’s averaging 10 points … and his shooting percentage from the floor is just 37 percent.
There are those inside Mavs HQ who believe Martin’s numbers are due to improve in the right circumstance. But there are still debates about who he would supplant in the rotation — and if the long-admired Martin is still the same player from back when he earned all this admiration.
Thus, the words “possible’’ pursuit.