Attention K-Mart Shoppers

Kenyon Martin's return to the NBA is generating the most drama since LeBron's "Decision." Maybe more... for all his faults, King James never touched off an international incident.

Long story short - K-Mart signed to play with the Xinjiang Guanghui Flying Tigers of the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) during the NBA lockout. The deal did not include an opt-out clause allowing Martin to return to the States at lockout's end - the CBA prohibited such deals.

Things didn't work out, and Martin parted ways with the Tigers in late December - before the NBA season even began. He's been trying to get back into the Association since, but before he could sign a deal, he needed a letter of clearance from FIBA - the sport's international governing body - saying he was free of obligations in China. He received that letter this week, and is reportedly close to signing with the Clippers, Hawks, Heat or Spurs.

One problem: the CBA is disputing the letter of clearance, claiming Martin pledged - as a condition of his release - not to play in the NBA until the Tigers' season is over, and that FIBA's request for a response went unanswered because it was sent during the Chinese New Year holiday.

So what happens next? If the release stands up, Martin could sign as soon as today and make his season debut in about a week. If the CBA's challenge is upheld, Martin will be sidelined until the Tigers' regular season ends on February 15; longer, if the Tigers make the playoffs.

For fantasy purposes, I'd be most interested in Martin if he lands with the Hawks; he'd have an opportunity there to help fill the void left by Al Horford's injury. With the Clippers, Spurs or Heat, he'd be a valuable rotation player, but probably wouldn't get enough minutes to merit a fantasy roster spot.

The Knicks have also been mentioned as a suitor, but it seems their interest has cooled considerably. That makes sense; the backcourt is a much bigger priority for New York at this point.

Martin's dispute with the CBA could also impact players with much greater fantasy value; don't expect Wilson Chandler, Aaron Brooks or JR Smith to have much luck securing early releases after this fiasco.

Around the League:

Timofey Mozgov gave the league a pretty good blueprint for stopping Blake Griffin's high-flying act last night; Griffin went up for another big dunk, and Mozgov laid him out with a hard (but clean) foul. I suspect we'll see more of that going forward. Griffin's leaping ability is fun to watch, but hanging in the air the way he does makes him very vulnerable to hard fouls... and he's a god-awful (51%) free-throw shooter.

I think we can stop worrying about Amar'e Stoudemire now. The Knicks made an obvious commitment to get STAT involved early against the Bulls, and he responded with his first 30-point game of the season. He finished with 34 points, 11 boards, two assists, a steal and a block.

Baron Davis had what the Knicks are describing as "a setback" in his rehab, and is probably at least a week away from his return.

Rajon Rondo could return to the Celtics' lineup for tonight's game against the Knicks.

Jamaal Tinsley could be a very valuable short-term play, as both Devin Harris and Earl Watson are banged-up right now. Same goes for C.J. Watson, who is getting playing time as Derrick Rose's backup and at the two while Rip Hamilton is sidelined. Greivis Vasquez - who will be starting in place of Jarrett Jack - is also worth a look.

Nate Robinson's fantasy value is close to zero now that Stephen Curry is back.

The Pacers seem to be the leading contender for Chris Kaman's services. If he does land in Indiana, Kaman won't have much fantasy value stuck behind Roy Hibbert and David West.


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