Kenyon Martin needs a reality check

Denver Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony (15) sits on the bench after another offensive foul against the Portland Trail Blazers during second half at the Pepsi Center on April 1, 2010 in Denver. Injured forward Kenyon Martin sits alongside. Denver beat Portland 109-92 as Anthony scored 25 points in the win. UPI/Gary C. Caskey Photo via Newscom

K-Mart is upset that the Nuggets haven’t offered him an extension, per the Denver Post:

And Martin, who will make roughly $16.5 million in the last year of what was a seven-year, $90 million deal that started in 2004, isn’t taking the snub lightly.

“…I feel me being here and what I’ve done for this (team)… (an offer) would have at least been extended, and it wasn’t. So who made that decision, I don’t know. If those people are no longer here, I don’t know who made that decision. But the decision was made. And I ain’t happy. They know it. Everybody knows it.

“But I’m not going to keep on about it. I’m not going to distract from the team and everything else. I have enough going on with this knee. If they want to give me another contract here, they will. If not, I’ll go somewhere else and play.”

If he had an extension, “I’d be playing right now,” Martin said. “I’m not rushing, whatsoever. The day I come back is the day I come back. I’m in the last year of my deal, we all know it. Ain’t nobody in a hurry to give me one, so I’m not going to be in a hurry to come back. Think about it: Ain’t nobody in a hurry to give me a contract, so why would I be in a hurry to rush back and risk further injury. Makes all the sense in the world, right? Trust me, I’ve thought about it plenty.”

Good grief.

The Nuggets gave Martin a deal with $90 million in 2004 and he rewarded them by missing 169 (or 34%) games over the next six seasons. And he’s dealing with another knee issue that is going to force him to miss the start of training camp. Why in the world would the Nuggets want to extend him now when they don’t even know how healthy he is? And why bother extending him when his next contract is going to be a fraction of his current salary ($16.5 million)? He’s a 32-year-old with bum knees — I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s playing on a two- or three-year mid-level deal this time next year.

The Nuggets thought they were getting a perennial All-Star back in 2004. He was coming off a season where he averaged 17/10 for the Nets and was named to his first All-Star Game. Unfortunately for the Nuggets, that was the only All-Star appearance he ever made. He has averaged 13/7 in his six seasons in Denver.

It’s no one’s fault that he has had all of these knee injuries. But for Martin to sit there and complain about the lack of an extension after the Nuggets gave him $90 million (NINETY-MILLION!) is completely insane. Moreover, he has the audacity to admit that he’s sandbagging his knee injury because he’s upset he doesn’t have a long-term contract.

Part of me is jealous that Martin gets to live in his own universe. I wish I had the balls to grumble about my financial situation as I’m getting paid $16.5 million for the upcoming season after giving my team two-thirds the production they expected in two-thirds the games. (That works out to four-ninths, or 44%, for the fractionally-challenged.)

This guy should count his lucky stars that he didn’t start having major knee issues until after Denver signed him to such a sweet deal. And he should enjoy the $16.5 million that he’s making this season because there’s a good chance it will be more than his next contract.

He’s not helping himself with this attitude. If I were a GM, I wouldn’t touch this guy with a 10-foot pole.

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Resilient Nuggets take Game 2, 106-103

After their tough, emotional loss in Game 1, conventional wisdom said that the Nuggets would be reeling and wouldn’t be able to put up much of a fight in Game 2. But these aren’t your father’s Nuggets. With the addition of Chauncey Billups and Carmelo Anthony’s transformation after playing in Beijing with Team USA, these Nuggets are tough-minded.

It took a while for Denver to get going. The Lakers came out like gangbusters and had a 13-point lead with 2:40 to play in the second quarter. But the Nuggets went on a 14-2 run over the last 160 seconds to narrow the lead to one at halftime.

The Lakers built a seven-point lead in the middle of the third quarter, but once again, the Nuggets responded and cut the lead to one at the end of the period. In the fourth quarter, it was the Nuggets turn to build a seven-point lead with 9:06 to play. At this point, I was a little perplexed by George Karl’s decision to go with J.R. Smith (1-6, 3 points) instead of Linas Kleiza (5-8, 16 points, 8 rebounds) down the stretch. Smith didn’t play horribly in the final minutes, but he didn’t do anything positive either. The Lakers fought back, and with 1:00 to play and the Nuggets up two, Smith turned the ball over (his third of the night). Karl obviously knows his team far better than I do, but Kleiza simply played much, much better tonight and probably should have been in the game.

There were a couple of missed calls down the stretch. Kobe traveled before he made his three to tie the game at 99-99 and during a jumpball with 0:18 to play, the refs missed Smith slicing through the circle before the ball was touched. That should have been Laker ball out of bounds, but since the refs missed Kobe’s travel, things evened out.

Chauncey Billups made 5 of 6 free throws down the stretch to seal the 106-103 win. Derek Fisher had a shot from the corner to tie the game at the buzzer but he missed the rim.

Carmelo Anthony had another great game, posting 34 points, nine rebounds (five offensive) and four assists. Chauncey Billups had 27 points, while Kleiza and Kenyon Martin chipped in with 16 apiece. Kobe led the Lakers with 32 points, while Trevor Ariza added 20 points (on 6 of 7 shooting) and four steals. Pau Gasol added 17 points and 17 rebounds.

I know that Phil Jackson and Kobe Bryant have a long history with Derek Fisher, but he went just 1 of 9 from the field tonight, and is shooting under 30% in the last two playoff series. It might be time to give Jordan Farmar a few more minutes.

The NBA’s 68 worst contracts

The economy is really starting to take its toll on professional sports, and the NBA is no different. Bad contracts are bad even when the economy is pumping, but they really stand out in tough times like these. So I decided to look through the payrolls team-by-team to try to identify the worst contracts in the NBA. I expected to list 15-20 names, but I ended up scribbling down 68. That’s right, there are no fewer than 68 bad contracts in the NBA.

I didn’t include any of the players that are in the final year of their contracts because…well, what’s the point? They’ll be off the books in a few months anyway. Instead, I wanted to focus on those contracts that are going to haunt teams for years to come, so to be eligible, players have to have at least a year left on their current deals.

It’s tough to compare someone making superstar money to an average, everyday role player, so I split these 68 contracts up into three groups: the Overpaid Role Players, the Not-So-Super Stars and the Injury-Prones. I will rank them from least-worst to most-worst with the thinking that I wouldn’t trade the player for anyone further down the list but I would trade him for anyone previously mentioned. So, for example, if a guy is listed #7 within a particular group, I’m not trading him for anyone ranked #6-#1, but I would think seriously about moving him for a guy that is ranked #8+.

So let’s start with the role players and go from there…

(Note: In most cases, I don’t blame the player himself for his outrageous contract. The fault lies with the general manager that inked the guy to the deal. However, this rule goes out the window if the player has a history of only producing in his contract year – I’m looking at you, Tim Thomas.)

Read the rest after the jump...

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