Martin Says Return To Thunder A Strong Possibility

December 4 2012 at 7:48pm CST By Chuck Myron

Kevin Martin is set to become a free agent next summer, and though he and his agent have not spoken with the Thunder about an extension, the 29-year-old shooting guard made it clear that re-signing with Oklahoma City is a strong possibility, according to Michael Scotto of RealGM.com. Still, Martin is excited about the prospect of hitting unrestricted free agency for the first time.

"I’m a Midwest guy and it’s going to be an interesting summer for myself, because I never got a chance to really be a free agent and I’m going to be high in the shooting guard class, so hopefully everything works out here," Martin said. "We have a great thing right now and I’m just living in the moment."

Martin, who's making $12.44MM this season, has inherited the team's sixth man role from James Harden, for whom he was traded just before the season began. It's no surprise that he and the Thunder aren't talking about his contract right now, since the team would only be able to give him three more years in an extension, while they could re-sign him for up to five years when he's a free agent in July.

According to Martin, "everything's been positive" since he joined the Thunder. He's averaging 16.1 points per game on 46.2% shooting, but those numbers are down from the 16.8 PPG and 49.1% shooting Harden gave them last year. Still, the Thunder are off to a fast start, at 14-4. The team wasn't willing to give Harden a max deal, but reportedly made him a four-year offer for a few million dollars less than that. I'm not sure if they're prepared to pay Martin the same money they'd have given Harden, but if they decide to keep the Western Carolina product around, four years and $50MM would probably be enough to convince Martin to return.

Unless Monta Ellis exercises his early termination option to leave the Bucks, Martin figures to be at the top of a relatively weak market for shooting guards next summer. O.J. Mayo, J.R. Smith and Manu Ginobili are other intriguing names who could be available, as our Hoops Rumors list of 2013/14 free agents shows.  

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