Oklahoma City Thunder guard Kevin Martin is in the final year of a five-year, $53 million contract and he will become an unrestricted free agent this summer, but the 29-year-old NBA veteran sounds like he wants to stay with OKC for the long term. Martin certainly isn't acting like a soon-to-be free agent. He recently sat down with Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports and he didn't give the impression that he is looking to aggressively test the market or blindly sign the offer from the highest bidder:
"This summer, hopefully everything works out here. I haven't said that too often. But I will put it out there; hopefully I have found a home in the NBA. I love playing with this group of guys. The organization is great to me. The community has been great to me. It's the happiest I have been during my NBA career."
"I knew what type of situation I was going into and that it was a perfect time for my career to be on a contending team in the middle of my prime."
Martin joined the Thunder this season as part of the trade that sent James Harden to the Houston Rockets on Oct. 27 and he has managed to blend in well with superstars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. As Durant noted in the same story: "[Martin] doesn't need the ball to be effective. He can play off guys so well. He can shoot the ball, drive the ball, get to the free-throw line."
The 6'7 guard from Western Carolina University has gracefully shifted out of the offensive spotlight he occupied during his less-successful stops in Sacramento and Houston, and although his scoring numbers are down (15.0 PPG), his efficiency is near a career-high level (61.9% TS).
How is it that Martin has managed to post the sixth-highest True Shooting percentage in the NBA this season? He's working well away from the ball to earn premium spot-up and off-screen opportunities that he wasn't able to get when he had to play a lead role in the offense with the Kings and Rockets.
All the attention on Durant and Westbrook has allowed Martin to get great shots in transition. The questions about Martin's defense have been minimized as well, because Druant and Westbrook lock up the top opponents and Serge Ibaka cleans up mistakes with his shot blocking in the paint.
The Thunder may the perfect team for Martin as he transitions into the later half of his NBA career, but general manager Sam Presti isn't ready to pull the trigger on a long-term extension for Martin just yet. As Presti told Spears, the team is pleased with the way Martin has fit in so far, but the business end of things will have to wait: "We will handle anything contractual at the appropriate time when the season is concluded."