The deal that many people associated with the Minnesota Timberwolves have been wondering about for weeks appears to have finally come to pass. With the NBA's deadline for players to be waived to be eligible for playoff rosters on other teams set to come at 11:00pm tonight, the Wolves were down to their last few hours to get a buyout negotiated with Kevin Martin. The reports began to trickle in with an hour and fifteen minutes to spare:
The Timberwolves and Kevin Martin have until midnight ET to reach terms on a buyout and sources say they are closing in after days of talks— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) March 2, 2016
And lo and behold, it appears that the deal got done.
ESPN sources say that the Timberwolves and Kevin Martin have reached terms on a buyout agreement and have submitted it for league approval— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) March 2, 2016
The team obviously hasn't announced the deal (pending NBA approval), but it sounds like everything is in order, and Martin has already released his comment on it.
Martin joined the Wolves in 2013, meant to be the final piece of a team that would focus around he, Ricky Rubio and Kevin Love to push towards playoff contention. After Love's departure, Martin was left with the rough rebuild of last year, and while he led the team in scoring, he has struggled with injuries both last season and this, and is currently having the worst shooting year of his career.
For all the talk that Martin has looked disengaged and not interested for much of this season, it's hard to blame him. His role has diminished from starting, to being the primary bench scorer, to not playing, as the Wolves' young guns have developed. It's hard to tell if Martin can turn it around and resemble the scorer that he has been his whole career with a change of scenery, but one hopes that will help.
This, as it has been since the trade deadline, is the best possible situation for both Martin and the Wolves. Martin's not going to get minutes on this team (and hasn't earned them), and he thinks he can contribute to a playoff team and chase a ring, much like Andre Miller. The Wolves don't need Martin taking up a roster spot this season and next season, and had clearly moved on from using him at all.
My most fond memory of Kevin Martin the Wolf will likely be the game last season where he scored 37 points against the New York Knicks, leading the Wolves to one of their biggest wins of last season, and played most of the game with a broken wrist. All the best to Martin, wherever he may land next. I hope that he rediscovers his shot and can contribute productively to a playoff team.