The tweaking of the Spurs roster continued on Wednesday with the signing of another veteran free agent.
Less than 24 hours after Andre Miller, the 39-year-old veteran who signed with the Spurs on Feb. 29, scored 13 points to help the Spurs get their 54th win of the season, Kevin Martin signed on for the pre-playoff push and what he and the Spurs hope will be a deep run in the post-season.
Like Miller, Martin called the Spurs’ championship pedigree the No. 1 factor in his decision to sign with the Spurs, rather than other playoff-bound teams that had expressed interest.
“That was the ultimate No. 1 thing in my decision,” the newest Spur said after a Thursday morning practice session at the team’s complex.
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said the decision to add Martin and waive veteran guard Rasual Butler – a player who had helped the Spurs in their run to a 54-10 record with some outstanding games as a deep reserve – was driven by Martin’s proven ability as a scorer. In 11-plus seasons he has averaged 17.6 points per game and shot 38 percent from 3-point range.
“Kevin’s’ basically a scorer,”’ Popovich said. “He’s an experienced NBA player and he scores. He spreads the floor; he gets to the free throw line and he knows how to play.”
Martin is the 17th player to have been on the Spurs roster this season. The club began the season with six new players and have added two more in the most thorough re-shuffling of the Tim Duncan era.
The 6-foot-7 veteran of 11 previous NBA seasons had played in 39 games with the Timberwolves this season, averaging 10.6 point per game and shooting 36.9 percent (38-of-103) from 3-point range.
Spurs fans may recall Martin’s play in the Spurs’ 2006 first-round playoff series against the Sacramento Kings. He started Game 2 of that series after teammate Ron Artest – now known as Metta World Peace – was suspended for throwing a punch at Manu Ginobili in Game 1. Martin scored 26 points in Game 2 and assumed a bigger role in the remainder of a series the Spurs eventually closed out in six games, but not before Martin’s buzzer-beating layin gave the Kings a 94-93 win in Game 3.
“That series is what made my career,” Martin said. “It gave me confidence. It was a fun series Being so young and in the playoffs it just helped me out.”
*Top Image: The San Antonio Spurs 2015-2016 Roster and Coaching Staff. Photo by Scott Ball.