Why Friday’s game shows the Spurs need help inside

The internet is buzzing about two potential inside players who potentially could help the Spurs.

After their 87-79 loss to Minnesota Friday night, it’s clear that either Kenyon Martin and Chris Kaman would be critical additions for the Spurs.

That is, of course, if they could be convinced to come to San Antonio.

ESPN.com reported that the Spurs are among , a free agent former Denver forward who left for the Xinjiang Guanghui Flying Tigers of the Chinese Basketball Association during the lockout.

And ESPN.com also reported that Kaman, who was traded to league-owned New Orleans in the Chris Paul trade, . Kaman was not with the Hornets for their game Friday night against Orlando as trade offers are being considered.

This speculation is coming after the Spurs struggled inside in their loss Friday night at Minnesota.

The Spurs grabbed two offensive rebounds in that game — their lowest single-game total in more than 10 years — as they were dominated in the paint by Kevin Love and journeyman Minnesota backup center Nikola Pekovic.

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich has been hesitant to play Tim Duncan and Tiago Splitter together except for brief periods because of problems it would cause his rotation of big players. Popovich has been unwilling to play DeJuan Blair and Matt Bonner together because of matchup problems. And without a replacement for the retired Antonio McDyess, the Spurs have had to piece together a tenuous rotation of big players during the first 20 games of the season.

Either Martin or Kaman would be a welcome addition, particularly in an extremely competitive Southwest Division.

ESPN reported that Martin has offers from Miami, the Spurs, the Los Angeles Clippers, Atlanta and New York.

Martin signed a $2.6 million contract with Xinjiang and left China in late December with hopes of returning to the NBA. But according to CBA rules, Martin will not be available to sign or play for an NBA team until Xinjiang finishes its season.

That return could be as soon as Feb. 16 if Xinjiang is knocked out of the playoffs.

Sources  told ESPN.com that Martin wants to play a large role with a contending team.

Martin, 34, struggled in his least productive season of his career last season with the Nuggets, averaging 8.6 points and 6.2 rebounds per game. But he would provide inside strength and leadership for a contender after twice reaching the NBA Finals with New Jersey.

Several of the contenders have signed players to max deals and would have to pay a luxury tax to acquire Martin. The best offers would be from the Clippers and Knicks, who can both give him a $2.5 million mini-midlevel exceptions. The Spurs could offer a similar amount, but sources told ESPN the team would not likely be willing to do.

Kaman, who turns 30 in April, might be more attainable if they were willing to pay the tax.  

“We’ve informed Chris that we are looking into possible trades and he was understanding about the situation,” Hornets general manager Dell Demps told ESPN.com. “We’re working together on this.

“Chris has been the ultimate professional since he joined us. In no way is this a disciplinary action. We had discussions about extending his current contract when he first came to the Hornets, but the organization decided to go in a different direction.”

The 7-foot Kaman is making about $14 million this season. He made the All-Star Game in 2010 when he averaged 18.5 points and 9.3 rebounds per game for the Clippers. But he was limited to 32 games last season with the Clippers because of an injury to his left foot.

Obviously, Demps is familiar with Popovich after working under him with the Spurs earlier in his career. I don’t know if that will help in making a deal with the league-owned team. But it certainly can’t hurt.

But it’s clear that Friday’s game was eye-opening because of the way the Timberwolves dominated inside.

What about it Spurs Nation?

Do you believe there is a problem with the Spurs’ inside rotation?

And could Kaman or Martin help?

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