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SportsColumnistsAl Iannazzone

Knicks Insider: Kenyon Martin tough on defense

Kenyon Martin of the Los Angeles Clippers looks

Kenyon Martin of the Los Angeles Clippers looks on in Game Two of the Western Conference Semifinals of the 2012 NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center. (May 17, 2012) Credit: Getty Images

The Knicks already were the oldest team in the league, and they got older at the trade deadline.

But they got better in the short term by dealing Ronnie Brewer to Oklahoma City for a draft pick, clearing a roster spot to sign Kenyon Martin.

It's no knock on Brewer. Known for his defense, the 27-year-old swingman went from starter to seldom-used reserve, and as his playing time was reduced, he wasn't in games long enough to have an impact.

Because Marcus Camby and Rasheed Wallace remain out with foot injuries, Martin, 35, should have more of an opportunity to play. It's unclear when -- and if, in Wallace's case -- they will return. Martin's toughness, intensity and defensive skills should be a welcome addition to a team that's dropped four straight.

The Martin signing doesn't mean the Knicks will beat the Heat, Pacers, Celtics or Bulls in the playoffs. The way they're playing, they're not beating the Nets, Bucks, Hawks, 76ers, Raptors or Wizards either.

Martin can't cure all their ills. He's 35, not 25. But the Knicks' recent stumbles primarily have been issues on the defensive end and with their effort. Martin is an energetic player and a versatile, hard-nosed defender. His defense on Rudy Gay helped the Clippers advance to the second round last season.

Martin likely will be even more motivated after going unsigned until now. He always plays with the proverbial chip on his shoulder, and the fact that no one really wanted him could make that chip bigger.

He can be volatile, which is true for the Knicks as a whole. But his signing is low-risk and potentially high-reward. It's a 10-day deal, and unless he can't play, Martin likely will be here for the rest of the season.

It's clear the Knicks are playing for now and stockpiling players, hoping that depth and experience will help them.

Martin is the ninth Knick who is at least 30, joining Kurt Thomas (40), Jason Kidd (39), Camby (38), Wallace (38), Pablo Prigioni (35), James White (30), Amar'e Stoudemire (30) and Tyson Chandler (30). Martin also is the sixth with NBA Finals experience. It sounds good, but it might not matter if the Knicks break down or hurt themselves with their play.

Trade winds sould pick up in offseason

Lots of talk led to minor moves before Thursday's trade deadline. The biggest name dealt was J.J. Redick from Orlando to Milwaukee. In that trade, Dix Hills' Tobias Harris went to the Magic. Hofstra's Charles Jenkins also was sent from Golden State to Philadelphia.

Now that the deadline is passed, here are some players who could be elsewhere by next season or who will come up in trade talks in the offseason.

Josh Smith: He'll be a free agent, and Houston is likely to be among the teams that will try to sign him. It's doubtful he's back with Atlanta.

Dwight Howard: Unless the Lakers lock him up quickly, the Rockets and Mavericks are expected to pursue Howard.

Rajon Rondo: By all accounts, he's not popular within his locker room, so expect Boston to field offers for him again.

Pau Gasol: He's insurance if Howard bolts but could be on the move.

Kris Humphries: The Nets couldn't move him despite all their efforts. He could be more appealing with one year left on his deal.

Amar'e Stoudemire: His contract -- with two years and $45 million remaining -- is an albatross, but the Knicks will see if there are takers.

Danny Granger: He'll be entering a contract year and should have value .

Paul Pierce: It depends on how he and the Celtics play through the postseason, but eventually Boston could shake things up.

Best of All-Star Weekend

Kid reporters: They asked the players funny questions, including whether Kevin Garnett's head looks like an M&M or Milk Dud. Garnett said Milk Dud. Too bad Carmelo Anthony wasn't asked his opinion.

Other videos: What you didn't see at home were videos of players singing -- Jrue Holiday got into it -- for a mock Valentine's CD and the All-Stars commenting on pictures of fellow players. Looking at one of Heat guard Norris Cole and his flat top, Carmelo Anthony said it's time to change his hairstyle.

End of game: Next to no defense is played, but Kobe Bryant knocked away LeBron James' shot in the final minute of the West's narrow win.


Worst of All-Star Weekend
The Slam Dunk Contest: It needs stars, or at least guys who play. And you shouldn't get six or seven tries to dunk. Just go, and if you miss, you get one replacement dunk and you move on. Get rid of the clock.

The Shooting Stars: There weren't many shots made and too many half-court shots.

The performers: Too much Ne-Yo, and Alicia Keys opening with "Empire State of Mind" in Houston. Save that for New York. Sound production was bad for both.


Remember Mr. Jordan

Michael Jordan turned 50, and the TV coverage last Sunday was more than all three of his retirements from basketball combined. He's arguably the greatest player ever, but little was said about Jordan the executive.

Try coming up with the 50 best moves Mr. Jordan has made. Try coming up with five.

In Jordan's first draft in Washington as an executive, he selected Kwame Brown first overall, ahead of Tyson Chandler and Pau Gasol.

He's now the Bobcats' owner, and Jordan's team had the worst winning percentage ever last season (7-59, .106). This season, they're 13-42 and have dropped 37 of their last 43.

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