Kevin Martin

Cavaliers Notes: James, Korver, Williams, Love

While returning to the NBA Finals is a thrill for LeBron James, the Cavaliers superstar is thrilled Kyle Korver and Deron Williams will get to experience the big stage for the first time, Chris Fedor of writes.

The Cavaliers wrapped up the Eastern Conference Finals with a 135-102 blowout win over the Celtics on Thursday, setting the stage for a third consecutive Cavaliers vs. Warriors NBA Finals matchup. This third installment will feature new faces as Warriors’ All-Star Kevin Durant tries to secure his first title. However, it’s the decade-plus veterans in Cleveland who are getting their first crack at the gold — which excites James.

“I think the first thing for me was seeing the excitement on Kyle [Korver’s] and Deron [Williams’] face,” James, who will appear in his seventh consecutive NBA Finals, said. “You’ve got one guy with 12 years, first Finals appearance, and another guy 14 [years]. So that’s the first thing I picked. And just to see the excitement around my teammates — I do it for them, and they give it back to me as well.”

The Cavaliers struggled after acquiring Korver in January and issues with their backup point guards forced the team to acquire Williams. Now, the team and its reinforcements are four wins from bringing a second consecutive NBA title to Cleveland.

Here are some additional tidbits surrounding the Cavaliers:

  • In a separate piece,’s Chris Fedor reveals that Cavaliers forward Kevin Love refused to join James for a dual media session after the team’s Game 5. Despite the duo appearing simultaneously after previous contests, Love explained that James deserved to have the spotlight on just him after the team secured its third straight Finals appearance.”I just told [communications director] Tad [Carper] I wouldn’t share a podium with him because tonight is a night where he deserves to be on his own,” Love said.
  • Former NBA champion and Pistons legend Bill Laimbeer appeared on The Rematch Podcast with Etan Thomas recently and explained why he prefers James over Michael Jordan. While Laimbeer and the Pistons engaged in several wars with the Jordan-led Bulls decades ago, he feels James’ skills supersede the Chicago legend. “LeBron can do anything. Michael couldn’t get all the rebounds. He couldn’t be the assist man like LeBron James can,” Laimbeer said (via USA Today). “He was very focused on scoring, a deadly assassin, but the rest of the part of his game, LeBron James is better than Michael Jordan.”

Kevin Martin Announces Retirement

NBA: Sacramento Kings at Minnesota TimberwolvesLongtime NBA player Kevin Martin has officially called it a career, officially announcing his retirement in his hometown paper, The Zanesville Times Recorder. The No. 26 overall pick in the 2004 NBA Draft played 12 seasons in the league and is an unrestricted free agent.

In his announcement, Martin wrote: “Thank you, thank you, thank you. There’s not a more perfect day for me to express those feelings. There are so many ways to announce your after professional career plans. My family and close friends have known since June of the direction I wanted my life to go….

To my community, I think the way I have always wanted to do it was on a personal level with the place that has always been there for me as I started this journey as a 18 year old kid. That place is Zanesville, OH!  It was always about you!  Special is just the start to describe you guys as part of my journey from day 1.  Honestly, there isn’t enough pages or enough days in a year for me to name everyone that has had a positive impact in my life…. Thank you so much and I’m excited to see who the next kid will be to experience the professional sports world but most importantly… for them to experience the reception from our community every time they are able to come back home and give hope for the next generation!!!

In appreciation to you… The Kevin Martin Youth Foundation will be donating $100,000 to enhance the talents of our young children, on and off the sporting fields, in the Zanesville and surrounding area! Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Martin played for the Kings, Timberwolves, Rockets, Thunder and Spurs during his time in the league. His career regular season averages through 714 games (504 starts) are 17.4 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.9 assists to accompany a shooting line of .437/.384/.870.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Free Agent Notes: T. Robinson, K. Martin, Waiters

David Lee is one of the more noteworthy scoring big men remaining on the free agent market, while Alan Anderson and Steve Novak are among the veteran shooters still available. All three players are in talks with multiple teams, agent Mark Bartelstein tells Sam Amico of Amico Hoops, though Bartelstein doesn’t specify potential suitors for his clients.

Although free agent spending this summer has reached new highs, we’re at the point in the offseason where most veteran free agents left on the market – especially players like Lee, Anderson and Novak, who were sidelined by injuries last season – will have trouble finding deals worth more than the minimum. Many teams don’t even have roster spots available for another guaranteed contract or two, so we’ll have to wait and see if those veterans (and others) will be able to find new homes in the coming days or weeks.

Let’s check in on some other free agent updates from around the NBA:

  • After opting out of his contract with the Nets last month, Thomas Robinson has drawn interest from the Pacers, Suns, and Hawks, league sources tell Amico. Robinson’s player option for 2016/17 was worth the minimum, so if he can land a guaranteed offer, it won’t have been a mistake to turn down that option.
  • Free agent guard Kevin Martin has received some interest from the Clippers, Bulls, and Pistons, according to Amico. Chicago and Detroit both have fewer than 15 guaranteed contracts on their books, and still have their $2.9MM room exception available.
  • One free agent who should be in line for a deal worth significantly more than the minimum is Dion Waiters, who is now unrestricted. However, Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman notes that Waiters hasn’t generated the sort of interest he had hoped to, and wonders if the 24-year-old’s disastrous final three games against Golden State hurt his stock.

Southwest Notes: Conley, Gasol, Martin, Cuban

Mike Conley won’t commit to staying in Memphis until he sees what kind of offseason moves the Grizzlies make, according to The 28-year-old point guard, who hasn’t played since March 6th because of an Achilles problem, will be an unrestricted free agent this summer for the first time in his career. “We need to be committed to doing the things, whatever it may be and however hard the decision may be,” Conley said, “to do the right things in order to get us where we need to go.” Conley’s situation has been compared to that of teammate Marc Gasol, who re-signed quickly after hitting the open market last summer, but Conley cautions that his decision is different because the Grizzlies have regressed as a team. Coach Dave Joerger remains confident that Conley will stay in Memphis.

There’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • Gasol has some free agent advice for his brother, tweets Ronald Tillery of The Commercial Appeal. Pau Gasol has expressed plans to opt out of the final year of his contract with the Bulls, and Marc Gasol says he should sign with San Antonio.
  • Spurs teammates have come to accept Kevin Martin‘s odd-looking shot since he signed with the team on March 9th, writes Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News. After agreeing to a buyout with the Wolves, Martin has become a valuable part of the Spurs’ rotation, averaging 6.2 points per game and helping them sweep Memphis in the first round. The 33-year-old shooting guard has been impressed by what he has seen during his short time in San Antonio. “The culture here is real genuine,” he said. “You wake up in the morning knowing there is one goal in mind, and everybody puts their sacrifices to the forefront. It makes you want to get up in the morning, come to the gym and just work hard for these guys.”
  • Playoff results won’t have any effect on the Mavericks‘ postseason plans, relays Erik Horne of The Oklahoman. Sixth-seeded Dallas currently trails its first-round series with the Thunder, 3-1. “We know the guys we like,” owner Mark Cuban said. “We know our core guys and we’ll try to add to it.”

Western Notes: Mitchell, Parsons, D-League

Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor sees a number of similarities with his current roster and the team he inherited upon purchasing the franchise in 1995, Sid Hartman of The Star Tribune relays. “I just think when we first bought it, we had a franchise that was pretty down and hadn’t done very well,” Taylor said. “We put a plan to get some young guys in here. That’s when we went out and took a gamble on KG [Kevin Garnett] and Stephon Marbury and our goal was to build for the long run and get a better team. We did that. It took us a while to get a championship team. In one sense we’re sort of like that again. We have a lot of young guys and we have to be patient, and I’m hopeful we’ll have a chance for the championship again, just like we did during those earlier years. So I’d say we’re similar.”

The owner was non-committal when asked if he would retain interim coach Sam Mitchell and his staff, though he did express his appreciation for the job Mitchell and GM Milt Newton have done, Hartman notes. “I like my coach, I like my general manager, they’re really nice people,” Taylor said. “We’re working together. What I told them is in this business of basketball, we’re going to do the whole season first and then at the end of the season we’ll do the evaluation.

Here’s more from out west:

  • Mavericks small forward Chandler Parsons is reportedly set to undergo surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee, a procedure that would end his season. The 27-year-old is still expected to opt out and hit free agency this summer, but his history of knee woes may give a number of potential suitors pause. A league executive was asked recently if he would consider inking Parsons this offseason, to which he responded “nope” and pointed at his knee to indicate his reasoning, Calvin Watkins of tweets.
  • Kevin Martin has seen limited action for the Spurs thus far, but coach Gregg Popovich is pleased with how the veteran is fitting in with the team, Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio-Express News writes. “He’s been around long enough where he’s fit in pretty well,” Popovich said of Martin. “That was good to see, because he hadn’t played for a while and we didn’t know what was going to happen.” The 33-year-old shooting guard has appeared in six games for San Antonio and is averaging 4.2 points in 9.7 minutes per outing.
  • The Spurs have recalled center Boban Marjanovic and small forward Jonathon Simmons from their D-League affiliate, the team announced. Marjanovic is averaging 23.7 points, 12.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.3 blocks in 26.4 minutes over three games with the Austin this season, while Simmons has logged 16.0 points, 3.5 assists and 2.8 rebounds over four D-League appearances.
  • The Thunder recalled small forward Josh Huestis from their D-League affiliate, the team announced via press release.

Western Notes: Wolves Sale, Martin, Walton, Noah

A dispute in the Grizzlies‘ ownership group may prevent a planned sale of the Timberwolves, as Brian Windhorst and Zach Lowe of examine. Steve Kaplan was set to sell off his share of the Memphis franchise and purchase 30% of the Wolves, with an opportunity to become Minnesota’s controlling owner. However, Kaplan and Grizzlies owner Robert Pera have been embroiled in a months-long dispute, as Windhorst and Lowe detail, advancing earlier reports. Their disagreement was recently settled through a confidential agreement when Kaplan threatened arbitration, but the delay has imperiled Kaplan’s deal with Wolves owner Glen Taylor, Windhorst and Lowe write.

Windhorst and Lowe also cite unidentified sources who say Pera has become “distant” from the Grizzlies and has prevented minority owners in having a say in important decisions. Kaplan fears that once word spreads about these practices, it will be difficult for him to sell his 14% share of the team. Sources tell the ESPN scribes that he has been asking for $100MM, while estimating the Grizzlies’ value at about $700MM. Windhorst and Lowe also mention sources close to Taylor who claim he is reconsidering his desire to sell, given the complications in Memphis and the Wolves’ stockpile of talented young players.

There’s more from the Western Conference:

  • The Wolves elected to stretch Kevin Martin‘s contract over the next three seasons when he agreed to a buyout, tweets Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders. Martin’s cap hit for Minnesota will be $1,229,584 next year and $1,229,583 in each of the following two seasons.
  • Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post believes Luke Walton is the favorite to take over as head coach of the Lakers if Byron Scott gets fired this summer. Bontemps cautions that L.A. isn’t certain to dismiss Scott, whose salary is guaranteed for next season, but Walton’s history with the franchise and success as an assistant with the Warriors make him a natural successor. In assessing the Lakers’ future, Bontemps said they need to establish a new identity with the retirement of Kobe Bryant and re-emerge as a force in the free agent market.
  • Joakim Noah is a realistic option for the Mavericks in free agency this offseason, and although he would provide Dallas with an upgrade at the center spot, he wouldn’t give the team the personnel to compete with the top frontcourts in the league, opines Matt Mosley of the Dallas Morning News.

Chris Crouse contributed to this post.

Texas Notes: Cuban, Martin, Goudelock, Holt

The Mavericks haven’t been a real contender for a few seasons, but owner Mark Cuban isn’t ready to shift gears and begin the rebuilding process, writes Tim MacMahon of Dallas lost Saturday to the Pacers to drop to .500 and just two games up in the loss column on ninth-place Utah.

“We’ll always be opportunistic,” Cuban said. “It takes a little bit of luck. I don’t care who it is. Then you look at the teams that said, ‘OK, let’s just blow it up.’ Who’s it worked for lately?”

The Mavericks are nonetheless stuck on the mediocrity treadmill, having no clear path to becoming legitimate contenders, MacMahon contends in the same piece. MacMahon examines the team’s decisions since winning the title in 2011 and doubts that Dallas can attract marquee free agents during the upcoming summer due to the plethora of teams set for ample cap flexibility. See more on the Mavs amid news from the Lone Star state.

  • Kevin Martin was linked to the Mavs, Rockets, Cavaliers, Hawks, Heat and Thunder as he worked a buyout with the Timberwolves a couple of weeks ago, but he said the Spurs were his choice all along, according to The Oklahoman’s Anthony Slater (Twitter link). “There was only one team I’d do a buyout for and it was here [San Antonio],” Martin said.
  • Andrew Goudelock believes he significantly expanded his game in the nearly three years that passed between the end of his time with the Lakers in 2013 and his signing with the Rockets this week, observes Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle“My basketball IQ has grown,” Goudelock said. “I’ve seen a lot of different things. I’m able to read offenses and defenses better. I’m able to handle the ball a lot better. I’m able to play both guard positions. I’m able to see things on the floor I wasn’t able to see before. I was just a scorer. That’s all I brought to the game. Now, I’m passing the ball and defensively I’ve gotten a lot better. I’ve come a long way defensively. That was one of the knocks on me. I’m a pretty decent defender now.”
  • Critics could argue that Peter Holt, who transferred control of the Spurs to his wife this past week, simply rode the wave of success that coach/president Gregg Popovich built, but Holt’s faith in Popovich amid difficulty early in his coaching tenure shows that the outgoing owner deserves credit, opines Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post.

Chris Crouse contributed to this post.

Western Notes: Williams, Martin, Cousins

Assistant coach Monty Williams will not return to the team this season as he continues to grieve in the wake of the tragic passing of his wife, Ingrid, the team announced today. “The most important thing for Monty during this time is for him to be with his family, and the most important thing for us as an organization is to support him as a person, in any way that we can,” GM Sam Presti relayed in the team’s statement. “Even though Monty will not return to the team this season, his presence will be felt by all of us within the program and we will remain close with him and his family.

Coach Billy Donovan also expressed his support for Williams, saying, “I have really enjoyed my relationship with Monty, and clearly we will miss him, but we value and embrace that it is critical he is there for his family at this time and our focus is on doing whatever we can, in any small way, to help him. He and his family will continue to be in our thoughts.

Here’s more from out West:

  • Kevin Martin joined the Spurs with his eyes firmly fixed on playing in the postseason, which was his primary motivation for choosing San Antonio over other suitors after reaching a buyout arrangement with the Wolves, Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News relays.  “I think you look at where you’re at in your career, when you’ve kind of been on a lot of teams where you’re a No. 1 option guy, but you really don’t get to play until the end of May or early June,” Martin said. “So I think I just wanted to be with a championship pedigree. That was the ultimate No. 1 thing in my decision.” The veteran shooting guard sacrificed exactly half of his $7,377,500 player option for next season and $352,750 of this season’s salary in order to secure his departure from Minnesota.
  • The Kings should give DeMarcus Cousins one more chance to make things work in Sacramento by hiring a new coach for next season, J.A. Adande of opines (video link). The ESPN scribe notes that the situation between the volatile but talented center and coach George Karl is toxic, and Cousins was seemingly in check under former coach Michael Malone, which demonstrates that the big man can be kept in line if he respects the person in charge. Trading Cousins should be the absolute last resort, Adande adds, since it would be virtually impossible to receive equal value in return. The team suspended Cousins this week for one game without pay for his latest verbal run-in with Karl.

And-Ones: Wright, Dunn, Spurs, Grizzlies, Heat

Dorell Wright is back in the U.S. now that his Chinese club’s season is over, and while NBA teams are eyeing him, he’s not rushing to sign, Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders writes. He prefers a multiyear deal rather than one that’s just for the remainder of the season, Kennedy adds.

I have [received interest from NBA teams], but I’ve told my agent that I really don’t want to know anything until something is serious and set in stone,” Wright told Kennedy. “I did that [free agency] waiting game this past summer, getting my hopes up and thinking this could be it, but it didn’t work out. Once something is set in stone and serious, I’ll know about it. Right now, I’m just working until I get that call.

See more from around basketball:

  • Providence point guard Kris Dunn went against his father’s insistence that he enter the draft last year, and the extra year at college has helped him expand his game and his character, as Bleacher Report’s Jason King examines. He’s risen from a projected mid-first-rounder to No. 5 in the rankings that Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress and Chad Ford of compile. “I want to do more than just go to the NBA,” Dunn said. “I want to play in the NBA. I want to be prepared when I get there, instead of sitting at the end of the bench or going to the D-League. I needed more time to grow.”
  • The Spurs waited to cut Rasual Butler, a move required for the team to sign Kevin Martin, until Gregg Popovich could inform Butler of his release in person, reports Shams Charania of The Vertical on Yahoo Sports. Popovich returned today from an absence related to a family medical issue that took him away from the team for the past two games. San Antonio’s policy is to have either Popovich or GM R.C. Buford tell a player face-to-face when he’s being waived, according to Charania.
  • Briante Weber is poised to sign with the Grizzlies if the NBA gives them a 16th roster spot, but his agent, Bill Neff, still holds the Heat in high regard, reports Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel. The first-year pro has been with the Heat’s D-League affiliate this season and spent a brief time on the NBA roster in the preseason. “We love the Heat,” Neff said. “I’m still betting on them. We love the Heat. I couldn’t have picked a better team; they have been wonderful. I do think there is a chance to go back.”

Spurs Sign Kevin Martin

MARCH 9TH, 12:30pm: The signing is official, the team announced via press release. San Antonio waived Rasual Butler minutes earlier to clear a roster spot for the move.

9:49pm: The Thunder, Grizzlies and Wizards were among the teams pursuing Martin, Stein tweets.

MARCH 4TH, 9:01pm: The Spurs have reached a contract agreement with free agent shooting guard Kevin Martin, Marc Stein of reports (via Twitter). San Antonio currently has the league maximum of 15 players on its roster, so a corresponding move will be required prior to inking Martin. The Mavs, Rockets and Hawks also had expressed interest in signing Martin once he cleared waivers, as Stein also recently reported.

Martin was available for a trade for months prior to the February trade deadline, as Jon Krawczynski of The Associated Press first reported in December, but potential suitors were apparently reluctant to take him on without knowing what he’d do about his player option for 2016/17. Once the trade deadline passed, Martin and the Wolves reached an agreement on a buyout that saw the player sacrifice exactly half of his $7,377,500 player option for next season and $352,750 of this season’s salary.

The 33-year-old has appeared in 39 games for Minnesota this season, including 12 starts. Martin is averaging 10.6 points, 2.1 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 21.4 minutes of action per appearance. His career numbers through 698 games are 17.6 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.9 assists to go with a shooting line of .438/.385/.870.