Which means David Kahn, owner Glen Taylor and company will have to take to the free agent ranks to find a versatile forward who can at least provide a capable body until Love returns from his broken hand.
And according to Darren Wolfson of 1500ESPN.com, that’s exactly what Minnesota is prepared to do:
Taylor is willing to add payroll if Kahn and coach Rick Adelman sell him on a free agent.
Paging Kenyon Martin.
Though the veteran forward has yet to find a home—most notably because of his refusal to except a veteran’s minimum contract—he could be the perfect fit for the Timberwolves at this point.
While Martin is hardly the athlete he was when he played for the New Jersey Nets, he provides Minnesota with a solid defensive presence in the post and a player who can not only rebound, but score some as well.
Yes, he’ll give the team but a fraction of Love’s 25 points and 10-plus rebounds per night, but again, it’s not about replacing him, it’s about getting through his absence as seamlessly as possible.
And despite a relatively understated performance with the Los Angeles Clippers last season, Martin would help them do that. He averaged 5.2 points, 4.3 rebounds and one blocked shot in just over 22 minutes per game. His PER of 9.93 screams abysmal, but any extra frontline production, especially out of a player who has the lift and timing necessary to block shots, will be a welcomed commodity in Minnesota.
Plus, who knows, perhaps Martin takes a drink out of the Fountain of Youth and rekindles the fire that once drove him to All-Star status. Maybe he emerges as a guy who can put 10 points and six rebounds on the board consistently. Maybe he helps prevent Minnesota from digging so deep a hole that the team is out of playoff contention by the time Love returns. Maybe the organization will be pleasantly surprised.
Or maybe not.
Either way, though, Martin is a risk worth taking. He wasn’t worthy of being signed by the New York Knicks or Boston Celtics, but for a team like the Timberwolves, who are down their two best players, he’s at least worth giving a look.
After all, how much worse can it get for the Timberwolves than this?
That’s what I thought.
Proceeding with caution is no longer a luxury Minnesota is afforded, and at this point, it’s one the organization should hardly embrace. Because the Timberwolves have done all the right things. They were patient with Ricky Rubio, they paid Kevin Love and then spent a pile of money assembling a respectable supporting cast around the two.
Simply put, Minnesota has paid its dues, and it continues to pay them. But it’s time to take a stab in the dark, time to look for help in the most unlikely of places.
It’s time to sign Mr. Kenyon Martin.
Dan Favale is a firm believer in the three-pointer as well as the notion that defense doesn’t always win championships. His musings can be found at Bleacherreport.com in addition to TheHoopDoctors.com. Follow @danfavale on Twitter for his latest posts and all things NBA.