Lakers Rumors: Kenyon Martin Would Be Huge Step Forward for LA’s Defense

The Los Angeles Lakers have been rumored as a possible destination for combo-guard Leandro Barbosa, but general manager Mitch Kupchak could be in the market to fortify his frontline as well.

Sports Illustrated's Sam Amick reports that Kenyon Martin may have interest in remaining in L.A. after a brief stint with the Clippers last season. This time, though, he could be switching sides and playing for an actual contender.

But sources said the 34-year-old power forward is holding up this later stage of the hiring process for frontcourt free agents, with the Lakers and the Nets among the teams he's considering and negotiation leverage seemingly gone because so many of his colleagues seem willing to take minimum deals.

After re-signing Jordan Hill and bringing Antawn Jamison into the mix, it's hard to imagine where Martin's minutes would come from. They would have been limited to begin with playing behind center Andrew Bynum and power forward Pau Gasol. 

Nevertheless, there are a few good reasons to give Martin a chance, even if the 5.2 points and 4.3 rebounds he averaged in 42 games with the Clippers last season weren't especially impressive numbers.

At this point in his career, Martin isn't about the numbers.

His mid-range game isn't especially consistent, and he never did much with his back to the basket. As his first step lost some quickness, that face-up game wasn't so hot either. Martin can still score a few points, but that's hardly his calling card.

Instead, the energetic big man brings a defensive toughness to the table.

Given Los Angeles' most pressing needs, Martin would be a nice fit. The Lakers ranked 15th in points allowed last season, and they've done nothing to improve their roster on that end of the floor thus far.

Jamison is a dangerous perimeter scorer, and we all know what Steve Nash can do.

But neither of thos...

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