Minutes before a Tuesday night deadline, the Timberwolves reached a contract buyout with Kevin Martin, allowing the veteran guard to sign with another team in time for the playoffs once he clears waivers.
The deal guarantees the Wolves they won’t have to pay Martin $7.4 million for next season. It came five days after they did the same with Andre Miller, who signed with the Spurs.
Martin’s four-year contract signed in 2013 had a player option he could have exercised this summer. Eliminating that possibility guarantees the Wolves more money to spend on signing free agents when the league’s salary cap will balloon due to a new $24 billion television contract.
A 12-year NBA veteran and career 38.5 percent three-point shooter, Martin never found a real role this season largely because of interim coach Sam Mitchell’s decision to play younger players and partly because of a wrist injury suffered early this season. His 10.6 points per game is his lowest career scoring average since his rookie season.
In a text to the Star Tribune shortly before the 11 p.m. deadline, he wrote that after “a sleepless five days” he had accepted a buyout about which he was “excited.”
“This was a tough decision,” he wrote.
Martin thanked Wolves owner Glen Taylor and his wife Becky, the Flip Saunders and Rick Adelman families, trainers, strength coaches, locker room staff and Minnesota. He didn’t mention Mitchell or GM Milt Newton.
He also praised the team’s young players. “One special group man!!!” he wrote. “My young fellas keep doing what you’re doing and it will pay off in the near future. Make your big brother proud.”