Coming To America

Western Conference hungry for Kenyon’s return from China.

Nash Herringtonby Nash Herrington

It wasn’t that long ago that the NBA was locked out and players were making arrangements to make a little money abroad. Most of these players were able to easily get out of their basketball contracts abroad when the NBA came to its’ senses, but some learned the harsh reality of signing a contract. The reality of signing a contract is you might have to actually do what it says. Who’d a thought?

Kenyon Martin was one of those misfortunate souls that signed contracts with the Chinese team Xinjiang. He signed a $2.6 million contract with the Chinese Basketball Association and apparently failed to read the fine print.  The problem with Martin’s contract was that Xinjiang didn’t want him to be able to ditch their team if the NBA started up again, so they incorporated clauses that wouldn’t allow him to leave their team and jump right back into the NBA.

This was news to Martin who couldn’t believe he couldn’t rejoin the NBA like everyone else. Kenyon left Xinjiang in late December, but isn’t allowed to play in the NBA until Xinjiang’s season is over. Since Xinjiang didn’t make the playoffs, Martin’s back on the market soon. This has a number of NBA teams jockeying for position to acquire the 11-year veteran. Sure his points and rebounds are down, but he’s still regarded as a tough defender that knows how to win. 

Some of the front-runners for Martin’s talents are the Heat, Spurs, Clippers, Hawks, and Knicks. Although Martin doesn’t command massive dollar payouts these days, he’ll still require a roughly $2.5 million deal to draw him to your city. This is what may push teams like San Antonio out of the running. The NBA luxury tax for going over cap restrictions is enough to make some teams gun shy. In the end, the teams that could probably use him the most are the Knicks and Clippers. Kenyon’s not a true 5-man, but his athletic ability makes him an attractive off-the-bench option for a number of contenders.