Knicks seek help from Kenyon Martin
Sunday, February 24, 2013
BY STEVE POPPER
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On one side of the visitorsí locker room at Air Canada Center on Friday night sat Marcus Camby in street clothes. Across the room from him, Rasheed Wallace was dressed in sweats, but even further from getting into a game than Camby.
And there lies the risk of relying on aging players, which was an odd scene-setter for the start of the latest reclamation project for the Knicks, who introduced Kenyon Martin on Saturday.
Like Camby and Wallace, Martin wasnít brought in to be a savior, and maybe even less so ó signed to a 10-day contract to see if he is able to provide the physical play he did before sitting out the first half of this season while searching for a job. But Martin is convinced he can help.
At his first practice with the Knicks, he was asked if he could still be the warrior he once was
when the Nets made him the No. 1 overall pick. He took the reporterís hand and put it on his heart.
"Put your hand right here," he told reporters. "Let me see if you feel this? Whatís that? That ainít going nowhere, man.
"That ainít going nowhere, trust me, when I get between these lines. Thatís what got me drafted. Thatís what got me a scholarship. Thatís what got me 12 years. Iím going to compete at a high level every time I put on this uniform, every time I step on the court. That warrior mentality, nothing more, nothing less. Thatís what I go out there and do."
Thatís all the Knicks are asking, other than being healthy enough to contribute. With four straight losses and a 14-15 record in their last 29, the Knicks fell into third place in the East on Friday ó the first time they have been lower than second all season.
After Friday nightís loss, J.R. Smith said, "Weíre still alive. Weíve still got a heartbeat. Itís just a matter of do we get off the bed or not?"
Martin is the kind of player who, in his prime, could provide that heartbeat.
Blessed with more athleticism and toughness than finesse, Martin played with a non-stop motor and intensity that was as passionate as anyone.
The group of players he joins are well aware, with five of them having played with him in the NBA. Jason Kidd went to two NBA Finals with Martin in New Jersey and then Martin teamed up with Carmelo Anthony, Camby, Raymond Felton and Smith in Denver.
Heís even familiar with fellow Dallas native Kurt Thomas and James White, who also attended the University of Cincinnati.
"Heís just another defensive mentality, a guy who demands respect on the defensive end," Anthony said. "[Heís] a guy who can play multiple positions and is just a tough-nosed guy.
"The one thing for sure about Kenyon is heís definitely going to play hard. You donít even have to say that. Heís going to go out there and just do it. People in the NBA know that as well."
BRIEF: Anthony went back to Syracuse on Saturday, getting his jersey retired at halftime of the Orangeís game against Georgetown. Anthony played just one year at Syracuse, but led the team to a national championship.