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Roundtable: Talking about the Thunder's Kevin Martin

Oklahoman Published: May 28, 2013


1. If Kevin Martin says he'll stay in OKC for $5 million per season, should the Thunder pay it?

Darnell Mayberry: Sounds good in theory. But no. Even that sweetheart deal would put the Thunder over the tax and bring stiff penalties next year and in subsequent seasons. 

John Rohde: It would actually be more than $5 million because part of that salary would be taxed $1.50 for every $1 above the tax level. The Thunder is up against the tax threshold and Martin is about to become an unrestricted free agent for the first time. That's lousy timing on both sides.

Berry Tramel: I don't see how they can. Signing anyone in the $3-5 million range will put the Thunder over the luxury tax threshold, and since the Thunder is headed into Tax Land in 2014-15 and 2015-16, OKC has to do whatever it can to stay out of the tax next season, to avoid paying the punitive repeater rate.

2. What's the most the Thunder should be willing to offer Martin?

Mayberry: The number I'm thinking of is an insult to Martin. No offer would be more respectable.

Rohde: I'd love to say OKC could offer $3 million, but it probably can't even afford that. We could be looking at minimum wage, which for a nine-year veteran is $1,272,279. Sadly, there might not be a team in the NBA less able to afford Martin than the small-market Thunder.

Tramel: I don't see how the Thunder can pay any free agent as much as $3 million. The Thunder's best bet is to find a long-time veteran willing to pay for the minimum salary, since there are rules that will keep that from too heavily taxed. In other words, if the Thunder pays a 10-year vet the minimum (somewhere in the $1.4 million), then only part of that money counts against the cap and the tax. It's a rule designed to keep veterans in the league.

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