The Minnesota Timberwolves officially announced the team's acquisition of guard Kevin Martin via a sign-and-trade as part of a three-team deal with Oklahoma City and Milwaukee.
Under the deal, the Wolves sent Luke Ridnour and a 2014 second-round pick to the Bucks. Minnesota and Milwaukee received cash considerations from Oklahoma City, while the Bucks send the draft rights to Szymon Szewczyk to the Thunder.
"We are excited to add a talented veteran in Kevin Martin to our team," said Flip Saunders, Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations. "Kevin is one of the top shooters and more efficient scorers in the NBA and will help us immensely in those areas. Kevin is familiar with Coach Adelman's style of play and had success playing for him in Sacramento and Houston. We expect that to continue."
Martin's addition could be a major boost toward making the Wolves a playoff contender. In Martin, Minnesota has brought in a proven outside shooter who can consistently put up double figure points without dominating the ball.
Martin's efficiency was demonstrated last year, as the 6'7" swingman averaged 14 points and 2.3 rebounds in 77 games for the Thunder in a sixth man role. He shot .450 from the floor and a career-high .426 from three-point range while making 158 treys, the second-highest single-season total of his career.
As the third option on that Thunder team behind Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, Martin showed he could pick and choose his spots and play off of the creativity of other stars. His catch-and-shoot ability off kickout passes will be important next year in Minnesota, where much of the offense will be run through Ricky Rubio and Kevin Love.
The Timberwolves were last in three-point shooting in 2012-13, but Martin will be counted on to remedy that problem, as he shot a career-high 42.6 percent from three-point range last season and is 39 percent from that distance for his career.
Expect Martin to be penciled in as the starter at the 2, with UCLA rookie Shabazz Muhammad and Alexey Shved backing him up off the bench.
In his nine seasons in the NBA with Sacramento (2004-10), Houston (2010-12) and Oklahoma City (2012-13), Martin has averaged 17.8 points. 3.3 rebounds and 2 assists in 552 games (387 starts). The 30-year-old has career shooting averages of .443 from the field, .385 from three-point range and .867 percent from the free throw line.
Martin has previously played three-plus seasons for Rick Adelman (2004 - 2006, Sacramento; 2010 - 2011, Houston), averaging 23.4 ppg in the 2010-11 season.
Meanwhile, the loss of Ridnour should not impact Minnesota significantly because the team already has two backup point guards behind Rubio in J.J. Barea and combo guard Shved.
"We thank Luke for his contributions to the Wolves during his three seasons in Minnesota," said Saunders. "He is a consummate professional and we wish him the best in Milwaukee."
In his three seasons in Minnesota, Ridnour averaged 11.7 points and 4.6 assists in 206 games (201 starts). In 2012-13, he averaged 11.5 points and 3.8 assists in 82 contests (all starts). Ridnour returns to Milwaukee where he played from 2008-10.
The loss of Martin for Oklahoma City raises the question of who will assume the James Harden-Kevin Martin role as the team's third scorer?
Emerging Reggie Jackson is a leading candidate, but he plays the same position as Russell Westbrook. Improving Serge Ibaka and his mid-range jumper game also will help fill the void.
By Staff of The Daily Sports Herald and news services