Kenyon Martin was whistled for an NBA-high frequency of fouls last season for the Knicks. (Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Free-agent forward Kenyon Martin is returning to the New York Knicks, according to multiple reports including Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.
Martin, 35, agreed to a one-year deal for the veteran's minimum of $1.4 million, which is all the Knicks can offer.
The New York Daily News reported the Knicks wanted to sign Elton Brand but the veteran forward was unwilling to accept the veteran's minimum.
Martin joined the Knicks late last season and played well in the final month of the regular season averaging 7.2 points and 5.3 rebounds in 23 minutes. He averaged nearly six points in 21 minutes in 12 playoff games for the Knicks.
The 13-year NBA veteran owns career averages of 12.8 points and 5.3 rebounds in stints with the Nets, Nuggets, Clippers and Knicks. He was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2000 NBA Draft out of Cincinnati.
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The Wall Street Journal's Chris Herrings offered in March that perhaps the 6-9 forward's most overlooked value is taking fouls -- sometimes flagrant -- as an enforcer.
From The Wall Street Journal:
But Martin's most vital attribute—one that doesn't immediately jump out in a box score—might be rooted in how he fouls people: frequently and, sometimes, flagrantly.
Martin gets whistled for 5.4 fouls per 36 minutes, the highest rate of any NBA player who's started at least nine games during the past month. And he's already earned the designation as the team's most unforgiving fouler. "He fouls in a way that makes people think twice about coming into the paint," said teammate Marcus Camby.
The 6-foot-9 forward's enforcement-style defense is a welcome presence for the Knicks, who are without reigning Defensive Player of the Year Tyson Chandler (missed the past 10 games with a neck injury), Rasheed Wallace (stress fracture in left foot) and Kurt Thomas (stress fracture in right foot).
"We'd be in trouble without him," coach Mike Woodson said recently of Martin.