For today’s paper, I wrote a Q&A with Kevin Martin candidly discussing his impending free agency.
The Thunder has a critical decision to make on whether to re-sign him or proceed with a youth movement. It’s a choice that could determine how much the Thunder remains a contender in subsequent seasons.
Here are three reasons why the Thunder would and would not re-sign K-Mart.
WHY THEY WOULD
1) Third scoring option: For as long as the Thunder has been in town it has had a three-pronged attack. Letting go of Martin would be a blow to both the Thunder’s balance and bench. Serge Ibaka continues to bloom, but he’s a starter and still doesn’t create his own shot.
2) Reduced cost: Martin understands the Thunder’s constraints. He might be willing to re-sign at a discount. If so, the Thunder might not be able to pass up the opportunity to bring back a player who still is an elite scorer.
3) Fits a need: The Thunder historically has been average at best at shooting 3-pointers. With Martin, who is shooting a career-high 42 percent from downtown, OKC is now a top five 3-point shooting team.
WHY THEY WOULDN’T
1) Money: Because he still is one of the best scorers in basketball, Martin might command a lucrative contract that will be out of the Thunder’s price range. The Thunder proved with a contract offer to James Harden that it is willing to spend big to compete. But every team has a limit.
2) Only so many shots: There are times the Thunder succeeds despite off nights from Martin. Those are the nights when it seems OKC could be fine without him. Martin is averaging just 10 shots this season, the third fewest of his career. It remains to be seen whether the Thunder is willing to pay big for the possibility of periods of low production.
3) Promising youth: Reggie Jackson and Jeremy Lamb are chomping at the bit to get more playing time. Jackson in particular is blossoming before our eyes. Both, however, are cheaper versions who can combine to give the Thunder a similar impact as Martin without breaking the bank.