Sources: Karl has no intention of reinstating Martin

Updated: April 29, 2006, 11:48 PM ET
By Marc Stein | ESPN.com

Kenyon Martin's agent is expected to soon file a formal grievance against the Nuggets for suspending Martin indefinitely, but don't expect to see the power forward back on the floor this season.

Kenyon Martin
Martin

Martin missed his second straight playoff game against the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday night after being suspended indefinitely for insubordination.

A successful grievance through the NBA Players' Association can't force Nuggets coach George Karl to play Martin, and sources close to the situation indicate that Karl has no intention of using him again in the playoffs even if he's forced to allow Martin to rejoin the team for games and practices.

Karl, remember, would still have the option of deactivating Martin for any game. This is the first year that teams designate 12 active players and one inactive for each playoff game.

Talking to reporters moments before Saturday's game in Denver, Nuggets general manager Kiki Vandeweghe declined to comment on how long Martin would be suspended. The team had said he would miss at least two games.

"We've tried our best to keep things as much in-house as we can," Vandeweghe said.

In the wake of Martin's locker-room tirade at halftime of Game 2 -- which, according to sources, was directed at several teammates as well as the coach -- Karl apparently wants Martin shelved for the entire first round. It's likewise hard to imagine Karl changing that stance should the Nuggets find a way into the second round after falling into a quick 2-0 hole against the Clippers.

A grievance, then, likely can only recoup Martin's lost wages. Although he has received his entire $10.9 million salary this season, league rules stipulate that Martin would be docked $109,711 from next season's $12.1 million salary for every playoff game he misses through suspension if the grievance is unsuccessful.

Martin and agent Brian Dyke contend that Karl himself led them to believe that the ban would not last longer than a game or two. Martin then issued his public apology through the Nuggets' public-relations staff after the suspension was announced.

"He apologized to the coaches and he apologized to his teammates," Dyke told ESPN.com. "He admitted that what he did was wrong. But a first-round suspension ... I don't think a suspension of that magnitude is warranted."

Vandeweghe also said it is his understanding that Martin plans to file a grievance.

"I have spoken to them, just mainly to see how Kenyon's doing and make sure he's doing OK," Vandeweghe said. "The conversations will stay private, at this point."

The Karl-Martin relationship has been deteriorating for months and will almost certainly lead to Martin's departure in the offseason, provided, of course, that the Nuggets can find a trade partner willing to gamble on Martin's health and long-term contract.

Karl has been openly frustrated with Martin's season-long struggles after he underwent microfracture knee surgery last May and was eager for the Nuggets to deal him before the Feb. 22 deadline. Karl brought Martin off the bench in the first two games of the Clippers series after announcing that Martin couldn't play longer than 25 minutes after missing numerous practices.

Martin, in response, feels underappreciated and disrespected by Karl's position, given that he's been playing hurt all season. The former Eastern Conference All-Star reported to training camp just five months after the dreaded microfracture procedure that has derailed numerous big names in recent seasons, including Chris Webber and most recently Amare Stoudemire. Martin missed a career-high 25 games but maintains that he ignored the recommendations of outside doctors to keep trying to play because the Nuggets lost Nene to a season-ending knee injury on Opening Night and also endured long stretches without center Marcus Camby.

"Massage, acupuncture, shots to lubricate the knee," Dyke said. "He's tried everything to be able to play."

Marc Stein is the senior NBA writer for ESPN.com. To e-mail him, click here.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Marc Stein | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com
• Senior NBA writer for ESPN.com
• Began covering the NBA in 1993-94
• Also covered soccer, tennis and the Olympics