|Martin wants to stay in OKC for a while. (Getty Images)|
Kevin Martin is having himself a good time in Oklahoma City this season. He's playing with the two best players he's ever played with, he's on the best team he's ever been on and, even though he's not scoring 20 a game, he's filling a role and winning.
What's not to love about that?
But Martin's contract expires at the end of this season, leaving some doubt whether he's a long-term piece for the Thunder.
Martin told Yahoo Sports he wants to stay in Oklahoma City past this season.
"This summer, hopefully everything works out here," Martin told Yahoo! Sports on Wednesday. "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.
"This is my spot ... hopefully."
A lot of that depends more on the Thunder's perspective of Martin's long-term fit and less about Martin's wishes. If you recall, Martin was acquired in the trade sending James Harden to Houston that was mostly financially motivated. So the money has to be right for OKC, along with the fit.
Martin, who will turn 30 in about a week, isn't the traditional Thunder piece because he's not young and groomed and cultivated in the system for the past four years. He's a gun for hire, and one that's paid off.
He's making $12.5 million this season and with a new deal coming in the summer, the question is what OKC will be willing to pay, and more important, if Martin is willing to take a small paycut to remain. According to league sources, "multiple" teams will be interested in Martin this offseason, looking to sign him and install him back as more of a featured player. He's happy in his role off the bench in OKC, but happy enough to take less? Also known as the Harden Conundrum.
Here's OKC's financial situation: Per Sham Sports, OKC has about $67 million on the books already for next season, and $66 million for the season after that. While the Thunder proved in the Harden negotiations they were willing to break into tax territory, the question is if they were just willing to make that exception for Harden. Getting Martin for something in the two-year, $17 million range sounds reasonable to me, but that would put OKC right on the tax fringe. Something they'd very much prefer avoiding. So the question is, is Martin worth it to them to pay tax on?
There's a lot to this that isn't known, one major thing being how Martin performs the second half of the season and, more important, the postseason. Martin's style has fit beautifully with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook as the Thunder offense has reached new levels. He blends extremely well and allows the Thunder's two stars to breathe without demanding the ball. He's an extremely unselfish player, something that meshes well with OKC's roster.
For how much longer, though? To be determined.