Column: Will Kevin Martin Join LeBron in Cleveland?

POSTED BY: Patrick Chiesa
Friday, July 11, 2014 - 04:53 PM

The second coming of "The Decision" has been decided. The King is returning to Cleveland. 

In an announcement told exclusively to Sports Illustrated's Lee Jenkins, James writes, "I'm ready to accept the challenge. I'm coming home."

For Cavs fans, this news came as a mixture of shock and euphoria. The four-time MVP is back. He's really going to wear a Wine and Gold jersey again.

For Cavs fans from Zanesville, this news could potentially snowball into more good news. Not only is Cleveland additionally pursuing three-time all-star big man Kevin Love, but there might be chance that former Blue Devil Kevin Martin will be packaged in the deal along with Love.

Let's review, beginning with what has surfaced in the sports media:

It's clear that the Cavs are actively pursuing Love, and ESPN's Marc Stein reports that Love is "intrigued" by the prospect of being traded to Cleveland. The Wolves, on the other hand, really want Andrew Wiggins, but Cleveland does not want to part ways with the number-one overall draft pick, and understandably so. Names from the Cavs that have surfaced as trade bait include Anthony Bennett and Dion Waiters, yet ESPN's Chris Broussard says Waiters will not be included in any Love trade.

So where does K-Mart figure in to all of this? We need to back track, but his name has been thrown around on multiple occasions. ESPN reported that  Minnesota offered Love and Martin to the Golden State Warriors in exchange for Klay Thompson, David Lee and a future first-round pick, but Jerry West and Steve Kerr were reluctant to pull the trigger. ESPN has also reported that the Nuggets were interested in acquiring Love and Martin in exchange for Kenneth Faried, Wilson Chandler and the 11th pick in the NBA draft (which turned out to be Creighton's Doug McDermott), but that deal also fell through. 

The bottom line is that the Wolves have made a concerted effort to shop Martin this offseason. Though this doesn't assure us that he will return to the Buckeye State, it does lead one to believe that his name is fresh in the mind of Cavs GM David Griffin.

Now to the next two orders of business: A.) Why would the Wolves want to trade Martin? and B.) Would K-Mart be a good fit for the Cavs?

To answer the first question, Martin has three years and $22.2 million remaining on his contract, which will do a number on Minnesota's salary cap. This coming season, he is set to make around $7 million, which would rank third on the roster behind Love and Nikola Pekovic. Though Martin's offensive numbers have been good (32 mpg, 19 ppg, 43% fgp), he is not renowned for his defense, and perhaps president/coach Flip Saunders and company believe they can reel in a more complete player. Still, Martin was quick to praise Saunders when the former was back in the Y-City for his 6th annual basketball camp this week.

"(Saunders) wants to (win), I can tell," Martin said. "... Last year we thought he was the coach, too, because he would keep coming on down and giving us tips."

Secondly, it goes without saying that any playoff-caliber team can use an effective spot-up shooter. That is exactly what the Cavs would get in K-Mart. As of now, Cleveland is conveniently lacking in the shooting guard department behind Waiters. The next-best option, Matthew Dellavedova, averaged just 9.6 points per 36 minutes last season, nearly 12 points fewer than Martin. Remember that C.J. Miles is now a Pacer.

Of course, if Waiters is dealt, Martin may very well find himself in the starting role alongside LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love/Andrew Wiggins and Anderson Varejao. A whole lot of dominos would have to fall the right way, but wouldn't that be something?

 

 


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