Clippers are interested in Kenyon Martin


Reporting from Salt Lake City — Count the Clippers as one of the many teams still trying to get free-agent power forward Kenyon Martin, according to two people not authorized to speak publicly on the situation.

Martin recently met with Clippers Coach Vinny Del Negro and Neil Olshey, the team’s vice president of basketball operations, to gauge his interest in playing for the team, both people said.

The Clippers would be willing to offer Martin the mini mid-level exception of $2.5 million, though they haven’t made him an offer yet, one person said.

The Clippers like their chances because Martin has a home in Los Angeles and is a friend of Clippers guard Chauncey Billups, a former teammate with the Denver Nuggets.

Martin’s agent, Andy Miller, didn’t return phone calls from The Times, but he told other media outlets that his client will make a decision by this weekend.


Besides the Clippers, the Miami Heat, Lakers, San Antonio Spurs, New York Knicks and Atlanta Hawks are interested in Martin.

The Clippers view the 6-foot-9 Martin as someone who can provide defense, rebounding and some scoring off the bench. He averaged 8.6 points and 6.2 rebounds last season in 48 games with the Nuggets.

Martin recently played for Xinjiang in China and left the team in December. He wouldn’t be eligible to play in the NBA until Xinjiang’s season is over, which could be as soon as Feb. 16.

Clippers dig the long ball

The Clippers are one of the top three-point shooting teams in the NBA.

Is Del Negro comfortable with that?

“When they go in,” Del Negro said, smiling. “They’ve been going in the last couple of games, so yeah, I’m real comfortable with it.”

The Clippers were 13 for 25 (52%) from three-point range against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday night.


They had a run against the Thunder in which they made four three-pointers in the last 52 seconds of the second quarter.

The Clippers made 14 of 30 three-pointers (46.7%) against the Nuggets on Sunday.

Before Wednesday night’s game against the Utah Jazz, the Clippers had shot 21.28 three-pointers per game, the fourth-most in the NBA. They were making 7.89.

They are shooting 37.1% from three-point range, the ninth-best in the league.

“When the threes don’t go in, we also have to realized it’s not the night to just shoot them,” Del Negro said. “Now we need to attack the basket, get to the free-throw line and control the tempo until you get your rhythm.”