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Kings' Trade of Kevin Martin Looking Awful

Kevin Martin finally has a case as a legit All-Star candidate.

At 23.2 points a game, Martin finds himself at 11th in the NBA in scoring. As Kings fans would expect, he's doing it with remarkable efficiency: he's shooting a True Shooting percentage of .631 (second among 20-point scorers), bolstered by 41.9 percent shooting on three-pointers and a league-best 91.8 percent on free throws, of which he takes nine per game, the league's fourth-highest average.

It's the type of season Martin made a habit in Sacramento, though early-season injuries always derailed legit All-Star bids. When Martin broke his hand early last season, a year after suffering bone chips in his ankle and following a major groin injury, Kings brass reportedly wondered if Martin would ever get back to his old self.

He has.

Meanwhile, the two items the Kings received in the swap -- Carl Landry and cap space -- are looking rather invisible right now.

Landry has been pushed from key starter to bit player, receiving just 22 minutes a game in December. His shots have dried up, his strength -- post scoring -- made superfluous by DeMarcus Cousins. Landry looks less and less every day like a real part of Sacramento's future, and he's leaping up the Kings' perceived trading block as February approaches.

That other asset, cap space? Martin is due $11.5 million next season, while Landry is a free agent. If Landry isn't re-signed, that would mean Sacramento has an extra $11.5 million of flexibility heading into 2011, when a lockout could cause dramatic cuts in player salary. Nevertheless, even if Martin were still on the payroll, the Kings would have one of the league's most flexible cap situations entering 2011. In terms of cap space, trading Martin for Landry was whipped cream on the sundae -- Sacramento already had massive flexibility lined up; Martin's trade added a little extra.

As section214 has accurately argued since the trade, Martin-Landry can't be fully judged until we see what the Maloofs and Geoff Petrie due in the 2011 offseason. But if you write out a progress report right now, you have to really consider giving the Kings a big fat F.