HANG TIME TEXAS, Y’ALL – The Great Wall of China might be thousands of miles long, but it wasn’t tall enough to keep Kenyon Martin in the country.
The veteran power forward (who turns 34 next week) has arranged a buyout from his contract with the Xinjiang Guanghui Flying Tigers of the Chinese Basketball Association that will allow a return to the NBA, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo!Sports.
Two questions quickly pop up:
- Will Martin’s homecoming open the door for his former Denver teammates J.R. Smith and Wilson Chandler to make their own returns to the NBA?
- Since he won’t be able to join an NBA team likely until sometime in March, how much jockeying will take place for Martin among playoff contenders that might be looking for fresh legs near the end of the condensed 66-game, post-lockout schedule – Miami, Boston, San Antonio, the Lakers?
For Martin and Xinjiang, this breakup was simply a chance to end a partnership that hadn’t been productive. Martin, who turns 34 on Dec. 30, had been nothing resembling a dominant force in the CBA, averaging 14 points and seven rebounds in a league with few NBA-level big men.
After playing out his contract with the Nuggets last season, Martin is an unrestricted free agent. There are NBA teams interested in him, but clearly they’ll take a close look at his knees and try to understand why he struggled to find his past explosiveness in China. Was he simply not playing hard enough, or is he not healthy?
So that makes one more question: Now that he’s coming home, will K-Mart have anything resembling an NBA level game packed in his luggage?