ATLANTA -- There is a small forward spot to be won during Hawks training camp -- and the battle just got another participant.
The Hawks signed Cartier Martin on Tuesday to compete for the position. The move came one day after the team reduced the field by waiving Damien Wilkins and Adonis Thomas. Martin will compete with James Johnson, a non-roster training camp invitee, for a spot behind DeMarre Carroll.
Martin, 6-foot-7, went through his first practice Wednesday as he gets a crash course in learning the Hawks' system. It will be a baptism by fire for Martin as the Hawks played their final four exhibition games within a seven-day span. The Hawks opened their home exhibition schedule Thursday against the Spurs, who won, 106-104.
"It's another opportunity to take another look at another player," coach Mike Budenholzer said of the decision to sign Martin. "We are looking at anybody who can help us on the wing and add to our group." Martin is a five-year veteran who has played in 161 career NBA games with averages of 5.4 points and 2.1 rebounds in 14.2 minutes. He played parts of the past four seasons with the Wizards and was not re-signed. He spent the summer working out at home in Houston and waiting for a phone call. When a training-camp invitation did not come, Martin considered his overseas options. Finally, his phone rang.
"When I came in I got a chance to talk to coach Bud, and he just told me to be prepared for the opportunity when it is presented," Martin said. "The main thing for me is to stay ready at all times and work as hard as I can to prepare for that opportunity."
Budenholzer said the addition of Martin was not a result of being dissatisfied with the other small forwards/wings. Johnson started camp running with the second unit and was one of the first substitutes during the first several exhibition games. Johnson (6-8) has four points and six rebounds in 38 minutes in the three games.
"I think it's fair to say that there is an opportunity there," Budenholzer said. "I think with the guys who we have in camp right now, we feel good that here is going to be a good find and somebody who going to help us. So, I think it's a great opportunity for Cartier and the other guys who are competing for that spot." Martin played in 41 games, including three starts, with the Wizards last season. He saw considerable time near season's end after he returned from a hyperextended knee, and the Wizards were eliminated from playoff contention. He averaged 6.6 points and 2.4 rebounds in 16.9 minutes. While Martin said he is most comfortable at small forward or shooting guard, he is prepared to play any position the Hawks ask of him.
"They can expect some great shooting; a hard-working guy; a guy who is never going to quit on any plays," Martin said of what he will bring to the competition. "I'm going to give you my all. ... I'm going to come in and do whatever they ask me to do. I can play the 4 or 5, whatever it is. If I'm on the bench cheering guys on, hey, I'm going to do whatever it takes that the organization wants." The Hawks' other open position battle is the third point guard spot currently between Royal Ivey and Shelvin Mack.
The four games in seven days concludes Oct. 23, one week before the regular-season opener in Dallas on Oct. 30. Budenholzer gave no indication when he will further trim the roster. The Hawks currently have 18 players in camp and must cut to a maximum of 15 players by 5 p.m. Oct. 28.
"Those things are constantly being talked about, and how and when (someone is cut) can change in a day," Budenholzer said. "We are constantly discussing, evaluating and trying to figure out what is best for the group."
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