The NBA season is just about a week old, and Kenyon Martin doesn’t know why he still can not find a job in the league. He helped the L.A Clippers during their playoff run last season. His knee issues of the past no longer appear to trouble him. And he’s even pleased to take a contract for the league minimum.
So why has not any team called wanting to sign him?
“There is a concept about me that is not accurate at all I do not know who started it or where it came from that folks can’t control me,” Martin said. “I don’t understand. Have I had my issues like many other people? Yes. But I am getting back that people believe they can’t control me, that if I don’t play I’m going to explode, or I can change a locker room.
“In 12 years there had been not one day where I told one guy to dislike any person. If you ask guys who I’ve played with that know me, they know what it is and know I’m about winning basketball games and competing.”
Martin came off the bench to average 5.2 points, 4.3 rebounds and 22.2 minutes in 42 games with the Clippers while backing up Blake Griffin last season. The Clippers did not attempt to re-sign Martin in the offseason. The Knicks, Los Angeles Lakers, Dallas Mavericks, Nets, Atlanta Hawks and San Antonio Spurs expressed interest at the start of free agency, sources claimed, but no NBA team has offered a contract even a non-guaranteed deal to Martin.
Martin, 34, had hoped to sign with a title contender. Now, he will be open to joining any NBA team.
“If somebody calls me tomorrow, I do not care who it is, if it’s losing or winning at this point,” Martin said. “If someone calls me tomorrow and wants me to come in, I’m going. Guys are going down and [teams] are like, ‘Well, we’re going to stick with what we got.’ I’m like, ‘Really?’ I started querying myself, ‘Am I that bad of a guy? ‘”
Blazers GM Neil Olshey was the Clippers general manager last season when he signed Martin. He believes Martin’s intense side can be “misperceived.”
“He demands excellence from everyone around him,” Olshey recounted. “He expects coaches to be prepared. He expects his teammates to compete at the same high level that he does. The one thing about Kenyon, if fellows are not performing and are not as intense or focused on playing winning basketball, he isn’t reluctant to let them know about it. And I think that may be misperceived at times.” Vegas odds
Olshey said that he was “thrilled” with Martin’s impact on the Los Angeles Clippers last season.
“We don’t win the Memphis Grizzliesseries [without Martin] and we definitely wouldn’t have finished as high as 5th in the Western Conference without Martin,” Olshey said. “His ability to impact the game by guarding multiple positions, switching pick-and-rolls, blocking shots and protecting the rim was an element we actually failed to have and it made us unique. I was thrilled with Kenyon in L.A. He was a good teammate.”