Thursday , Jul , 15 , 2004 C.Y. Ellis

Nuggets go K-Mart shopping

=== Nuggets go K-Mart shopping ===

Denver, CO (Sports Network) – The Denver Nuggets acquired All-Star power
forward Kenyon Martin from the New Jersey Nets Thursday in a sign-and-trade
deal for three future first-round picks.

Martin, a restricted free agent and a former No. 1 overall pick himself, joins
a talented frontcourt in Denver that includes Carmelo Anthony, Nene, and
Marcus Camby.

“Kenyon is a great player who played a pivotal role in our success over the
past three seasons,” said Nets CEO Rod Thorn. “He is a terrific guy and we
wish him nothing but continued success in the near future.”

Selected first in the 2000 NBA Draft, Martin was an integral part of the New
Jersey team that went to the NBA Finals in back-to-back years in 2002 and
2003, forming an impressive triple threat with Jason Kidd and Richard

With Jefferson also due for a contract extension in the near future, the Nets
apparently decided that having the threesome all under multi-year contracts
was too much of a burden on their salary cap. Kidd signed a maximum-value
contract last summer.

The Nuggets were set to sign Martin to an offer sheet, but chose to pursue a
sign-and-trade deal primarily for two reasons. First, they could only sign
Martin to a six-year contract, one year less than New Jersey could offer.

Secondly, there would have been a 15-day waiting period for the Nets to match
any offer, forcing Denver to wait around and possibly watch other free agents
to go by the wayside.

“This was an extremely difficult decision for our franchise, but I felt that
the magnitude of the contract, both in its first year due to the signing bonus
as well as over its duration, would seriously impair our ability to sign
enough quality players,” Thorn added. “This core group of players has had an
amazing run over the past few years, and we will work diligently toward once
again competing for an NBA title.”

The draft picks the Nets received include one of the Nuggets’ own picks, along
with two choices from a pool of three formerly belonging to the Los Angeles
Clippers , Washington Wizards and Philadelphia 76ers .

Martin averaged 16.7 points and 9.4 rebounds in 65 games last year with the
Nets. He also sports career averages of 15.1 points and 7.6 boards in his four
years in the league.