MINNEAPOLIS (AP) With the clock ticking down to the final minutes, the Minnesota Timberwolves and Kevin Martin agreed to a buyout of the veteran shooting guard's contract late Tuesday night.
Martin confirmed the agreement in a text message to The Associated Press shortly before the 11 p.m. deadline for him to be eligible to play in the postseason for another team. With the Timberwolves near the bottom of the Western Conference with a young and rebuilding roster, the 33-year-old Martin ultimately decided to take the buyout to pursue a spot on a team that is headed to the playoffs.
Martin thanked Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor and his wife Becky for their support over the last two-plus seasons in Minnesota, saying they provided ''first-class treatment'' since his first day with the team.
Martin signed a four-year deal in 2013 that included a player option at about $7.4 million for next season. That option became a sticking point with some teams during trade talks last month, with some potential suitors not wanting to take on the possibility of more money on the salary cap for next season. When the trade deadline passed, Martin and the Wolves eventually engaged in buyout talks that dragged on for five days before Martin ultimately decided to take the deal.
Martin has been one of the most consistent shooters in the league over the last decade and could provide a big boost off the bench for a team like San Antonio, Cleveland or Dallas. But he has struggled this season, averaging just 10.6 points and shooting 36.9 percent from 3-point range in 39 games. He dealt with a wrist injury early in the season and had not played much recently because the Wolves did not want to risk him getting injured while they were discussing possible trades.
ESPN first reported the buyout.
Martin also thanked the Adelman and Saunders families for the time they spent with him in Minnesota. One of the reasons Martin decided to sign with the Timberwolves was the presence of coach Rick Adelman, who had worked with Martin in Sacramento and Houston. Adelman coached Martin with the Timberwolves before retiring in part to help his wife, Mary Kay, seek treatments for a seizure disorder.
Flip Saunders was the man who signed Martin with the Wolves, and he died suddenly just before this season started after a battle with Hodgkin lymphoma.
''The past two years have been the toughest to witness what you guys have gone through,'' Martin texted, referencing assistant coaches Ryan Saunders and David Adelman, who are the sons of Flip Saunders and Rick Adelman. ''Just know it has helped me respect more than just the game. I was blessed to learn so much, on and off the court, from my favorite two NBA legacy families.''
Martin also thanked his ''brothers in that locker room,'' athletic trainers Arnie Kander, Gregg Farnam and Mark Kyger, strength coaches David Crewe and Koichi Sato and equipment manager Clayton Wilson and assistant Cory Johnson.