Every sports blogger is a frustrated general manager. I have plenty of friends who are Cowboy fans. Most of them have traded Tony Romo a dozen times . . . or gave him concrete shoes and sunk him to the bottom of a lake.
The Grizz are my team, and I’m no different. In the past, I’ve made cases for players the Grizz should pursue in free agency or trade. About a year before he began Z-Bounding on Beale, I made a case for Zach Randolph. That worked out pretty good, I’d say. I also made a case that Allen Iverson would be The Answer in Memphis . . . and he wasn’t. I even have the dubious distinction of writing a blog that eventually led to the Grizzlies signing Gilbert Arenas.
Things are different now . . . new owner (Robert Pera), new CEO (Jason Levien). While I certainly hope Chris Wallace is still in the mix on player decisions, there’s no way to know. But all that said, I’m going on record that the Grizz should snap up Kenyon Martin. IMMEDIATELY, before someone else does. Here’s why:
“If someone calls me tomorrow, I don’t care who it is, whether it’s losing or winning at this point,” Martin said, according to Yahoo! Sports’ Marc J. Spears. “If someone calls me tomorrow and wants me to come in, I’m going. Guys are going down and [teams] are like, ‘Well, we are going to stick with what we got.’ I’m like, ‘Really?’ I started questioning myself, ‘Am I that bad of a guy?’
With all the fits that K-Mart gave the Grizzlies last season, you’d think someone would have taken a flier on him. At 34, he can still contribute, providing tough defense in a backup role, like he did last season as Blake Griffin’s backup for the Clippers. So why hasn’t it happened? One man with insight would be Neil Olshey, then-Clippers GM and now, GM for the Portland Trailblazers.
“He demands excellence from everyone around him,” Olshey said. “He expects coaches to be prepared. He expects his teammates to compete at the same high level that he does. The one thing about Kenyon, if guys are not performing and are not as intense or focused on playing winning basketball, he’s not reluctant to let them know about it.”
So let me get this straight: There’s a veteran big man out there with playoff experience. He averaged about 5 ppg & 4 boards over the last part of the season and the playoffs. He’s a tough, intense player . . . you might even say . . . grit & grind? The main knock on him from last season is that HE GETS UPSET WHEN HIS TEAMMATES DON’T PLAY HARD. And he’s willing to sign for the veteran minimum, which in his case would be about $1.35 million.
And I might be a little naive here but on an inside-out team that thrives on post play, interior defense and rebounding, I just don’t think you can have too much depth. Sure, he might ride the pine, particularly when Darrell Arthur heals up. Then again, with all respect to Darrell, can you count on him to stay healthy? K-Mart would be an insurance policy who at worst would insure that an injury to a key big doesn’t derail the season. At best, he becomes a contributor in the rotation and changes games with his energy, intensity, defense and rebounding.
Of course, that’s assuming K-Mart & Hollins can get over their troubled past: