Knicks News: Kenyon Martin Signing Provides New York with Much-Needed Depth

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistFebruary 22, 2013

SAN ANTONIO, TX - MAY 17:   Kenyon Martin #2 of the Los Angeles Clippers in Game Two of the Western Conference Semifinals of the 2012 NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center on May 17, 2012 in San Antonio, Texas.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The New York Knicks made two moves on the day of the NBA trade deadline, but the bigger move was not a trade.

At the beginning of the day, Ronnie Brewer was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder for a second-round pick and cash (via ESPN). Although he was a big part of the team's early success, the journeyman has hardly gotten onto the court in recent weeks.

In reality, he will not be missed by New York as the team finishes out the season.

However, the move did clear up a roster spot for the Knicks to sign Kenyon Martin to a 10-day contract, according to Ian Begley of ESPN.

Many negatives could come with this deal.

Martin has not played all season after posting career lows in points, rebounds and assists with the Los Angeles Clippers last year. There is a reason that he has been a free agent this long.

It is unknown if he is in good enough game shape to be able to step in and play right away. Additionally, the 35-year-old Martin makes the team even older and adds another big personality in the locker room. 

All that being said, this is a very smart move for the Knicks. 

First, the 10-day contract offers little risk if the player does not live up to expectations. Still, there is reason to believe he will stay with the team for the rest of the year.

Martin fits in perfectly in a few areas of need for the Knicks. Primarily, he is an experienced interior defender who will instantly be able to improve the team's 45.9 opposing field-goal percentage, which ranks 10th-worst in the NBA.

He is also a solid rebounder who has averaged 7.1 boards per game over the course of his 12-year career.

If he can play solid interior defense and help clean the glass, this could end up being a great fit. New York does not need any help scoring, but adding help in these areas would go a long way, especially when competing against the top teams in the Eastern Conference.

Most importantly, Martin provides the type of interior depth that the Knicks have been lacking in recent weeks. 

While Rasheed Wallace and Marcus Camby remain out with no real return date on the horizon, New York has struggled with its rotations. The team is forced to go smaller with lineups while giving extended minutes to players like Kurt Thomas.

Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler might also end up getting burnt out by the end of the year after logging so many minutes.

Martin provides coach Mike Woodson with an extra option off the bench whom he can trust. It also gives more versatility with the lineup, which will allow him to match up better with opponents.

It would be ridiculous to expect Kenyon Martin to be the player he was a decade ago with the New Jersey Nets, scoring 15 points and 10 rebounds consistently. However, he can still be a useful player in the NBA.

With the Knicks looking to contend for an NBA championship, replacing Brewer with Martin was one of the smartest moves they could have made.