K-Mart selling his house

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Kenyon Martin’s time in a Denver Nuggets jersey may be coming to an end, at least according to the Westwood blog.

The blog reported that Martin is selling his Greenwood Village estates, and compared it to Carmelo Anthony and how selling his house was the first sign that he was leaving.

Martin is an unrestricted free agent for the Nuggets and is very unlikely to take less money and minutes to return to Denver.

In 2004, he signed a $91 million/7-year deal  with the Nuggets, which received a lot of criticism at the time and even more now. The 33-year-old power forward from Cincinnati was coming off of a career year in which he averaged 16.7 points and 9.5 rebounds – both of which are his career highs. But those statistics didn’t matchup  with the elite forwards in the West.

Western Conference power forwards (2003-04 season)

  • Kevin Garnett (Minnesota) – 24.2 points, 13.9 rebounds
  • Tim Duncan (San Antonio) – 22.3 points, 12.4 rebounds
  • Dirk Nowitzki (Dallas) – 21.8 points, 8.7 rebounds
  • Amar’e Stoudemire (Phoenix) – 20.3 points, 9 rebounds
  • Zach Randolph (Portland) – 20.1 points, 10.5 rebounds
  • Elton Brand (LA Clippers) – 20 points, 10.3 rebounds
  • *Chris Webber (Sacramento) – 19.5 points, 9.7 rebounds
  • Pau Gasol (Memphis) – 17.7 points, 7.7 rebounds
  • Kenyon Martin (New Jersey) – 16.7 points, 9.5 rebounds
*- Webber only played 23 games in 2003
To Martin’s credit, his defense and aggressiveness definitely helped. Martin did average 15.5 points in his first season with the Nuggets, but after that it was all down hill. The next two seasons Martin missed a combined 108 games.
When he came back he played OK, but not great. In 2009, he was a key factor in the Nuggets advancing to the Western Conference Finals. During the playoffs his aggressive defense was valuable in shutting down New Orleans’ David West and containing Chris Paul. It also helped slowing down Nowitzki and Jason Kidd.
Martin has to be one of the most versatile defenders in the NBA, with his ability to switch on the perimeter and make life tough on opponents in the paint. What hurts him in the paint is his size and most nights he is undersized – especially now that he isn’t as athletic as he once was.
In time, Nuggets rookie Kenneth Faried can fill the void that Martin may leave. But it’s tough to imagine that happening this season. However, there are a few free agents that may come in and play a similar role to Martin.
  1. Andrei Kirilenko (Utah), Unrestricted: Another very versatile defender. Kirilenko has length and quickness to disrupt opposing offenses. He also can play both forward positions, it also doesn’t hurt that him and Timofey Mozgov play together on the Russian basketball team.
  2. Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (Milwaukee), Restricted: Who? Is always the first question everybody asks, but Mbah a Moute is one of the most underrated players in the NBA. He won’t help you on offense, but defensively he is one of the best players in the League. He can defend guards in a pinch and has the size to guard power forwards. In one game against the Miami Heat, he blocked a LeBron James shot, forced Dwayne Wade into a bad shot and Chris Bosh into a turnover. Not bad for a guy that is rather unknown in the NBA. He also is another quality player from UCLA, where he played with Arron Afflalo.
  3. Chuck Hayes (Houston), Unrestricted: It is eerie how identical Hayes and Martin’s stats were:
    Hayes: 7.9 points, 8.1 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.1 steal, .7 block
    Martin: 8.6 points, 6.2 rebounds, 2.3 assists, .9 steal, .7 block
    Now Martin does have Hayes on athletic ability and is a better defender at defending the perimeter. However, Hayes is much more skilled at defending in the post. But there is no doubt that Hayes will get paid this season, if not there is something wrong.
  4. Wilson Chandler (Denver), Restricted: Chandler was the second most versatile defender on the roster behind Martin. To read more, here is an earlier column on Chandler.
  5. Tayshaun Prince (Detroit), Unrestricted: It was much easier seeing Prince in a Nuggets jersey when Chauncey Billups was in Denver. Now, not so much. Prince will get offers from Miami, Los Angeles Lakers, Detroit and even Phoenix. He is versatile, but may be a notch below Kirilenko, Martin and Mbah a Moute on defense. But offensively he is much better. He can facilitate the offense, hit outside jumpers and grab some boards. He also is a quality teammate and good leader.
  6. Shane Battier (Memphis), Unrestricted: Battier wouldn’t quite replace Martin’s defense, but more definitely his leadership. Battier can defend the best perimeter players no problem and isn’t bad in the post – but definitely isn’t a shutdown player. But don’t leave him open from the corner 3s or your in trouble. Right idea, but doubtful he will come to Denver.
  7. Grant Hill (Phoenix), Unrestricted: Hill wouldn’t be a bad option replacing Martin’s leadership and despite being 38, Hill is still a very good defender. He’d probably struggle in the post, but could help out elsewhere. No doubt he is a player that George Karl wants on his team, but are the feelings mutual?

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