Jan 14, 2014; Charlotte, NC, USA; New York Knicks forward Kenyon Martin (3) explains his actions to a referee during the second half of the game against the Charlotte Bobcats at Time Warner Cable Arena. Bobcats win 108-98. Mandatory Credit: Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports
According to Shams Charnia of Real GM, Kenyon Martin met with Houston Rockets management on Friday for discussions involving a coaching role.
It was also mentioned, however, that Martin participated in basketball activities on Friday. While it may be reading into too much, Martin’s display of still-extant physical prowess indicates that, at the minimum, he will be able to coach big men with a “hands on” approach.
The further, yet far more speculative, implication is that he may be able to still play NBA basketball. Martin is still just 36, and while not young, it isn’t on the witching side of age 38, or even 40.
Player-Coaches have been rare. Wilt Chamberlain was a very notable one to be sure. But even the Shaq-era Orlando Magic used the aged vet Tree Rollins as a moonlight plug when Shaq actually had to rest. Could Martin do the same for Dwight Howard? Could he teach No. 12 while also giving spot minutes to allow Howard to catch his breath?
The lack of depth behind Howard makes this a possibility. Tarik Black is currently pencilled to back up Howard; but Donatas Motiejunas will see time there, too, as the only legit 7-footer on the roster.
Neither brings anywhere near the wealth of experience and grit that Martin does. Neither is playoff tested like K-Mart.
Even if Martin’s once impressive athleticism is a faint shadow of what it was during his heyday in New Jersey and Denver, he could still be a viable cog in giving Houston one more big, tough body. None of this has been reported as being in discussion, it must be mentioned, but the possibility isn’t far fetched— and it’s certainly far from a bad one.