Kevin Martin, Wolves agree to buyout; Spurs make strong pitch

ByMarc Stein ESPN logo
Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Veteran shooting guardKevin Martin and the Minnesota Timberwolves came to terms on a contract buyout in time to beat Tuesday's midnight ET deadline and keep him playoff-eligible for his next team, Martin confirmed.

Days of protracted talks between the sides ultimately resulted in an agreement that has been submitted for league approval and will position Martin, 33, to be pursued by a number of playoff-bound teams once he clears waivers later this week.

The San Antonio Spurs, as reported over the weekend, have already emerged as strong contenders to sign him.

But sources said late Tuesday that the Atlanta Hawks, Dallas Mavericks and Houston Rocketshave joined the Spurs in the Martin hunt.

Sources say the Spurs have made a particularly strong pitch to Martin, whose agent, Dan Fegan, had to negotiate a complicated settlement of the player option on Martin's contract that was scheduled to pay him $7.4 million next season.

Martin, in a message sent to multiple media outlets, thanked Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor and his wife, Becky, for their support over the past two-plus seasons in Minnesota, saying they provided "first-class treatment" since his first day with the team.

Martin also thanked the families of former Timberwolves coaches Rick Adelman and Flip Saunders for the time they spent with him in Minnesota. One of the reasons Martin decided to sign with the Timberwolves was the presence of Adelman, who had worked with Martin in Sacramento and Houston. Adelman coached Martin with the Timberwolves before retiring in 2014 in part to help his wife, Mary Kay, seek treatments for a seizure disorder.

Saunders was the man who signed Martin to the Wolves. He died suddenly just before this season started after a battle with Hodgkin lymphoma.

"The past two years have been the toughest to witness what you guys have gone through," Martin said, referencing assistant coaches Ryan Saunders and David Adelman, who are the sons of Flip Saunders and Rick Adelman. "Just know it has helped me respect more than just the game. I was blessed to learn so much, on and off the court, from my favorite two NBA legacy families."

Martin also thanked his "brothers in that locker room" as well as athletic trainers Arnie Kander, Gregg Farnam and Mark Kyger; strength coaches David Crewe and Koichi Sato; equipment manager Clayton Wilson; and assistant Cory Johnson.

Martin has averaged 17.6 points in 30.5 minutes per game for his career and has long been regarded as a high-efficiency player with a propensity to get to the free throw line. He's also a lifetime 38.5 percent shooter from 3-point range.

Like former Wolves teammate Andre Miller, who signed with the Spurs after negotiating his own contract buyout last week, Martin has been used sparingly this season by the Wolves, who have focused on developing their young players in the wake of their inability to build on an 8-8 start.

Martin averaged 20 points per game as recently as last season, but the Wolves made the decision this season to emphasize minutes for youngster Zach LaVine and Shabazz Muhammad in addition to reigning rookie of the year Andrew Wiggins.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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