By Steve Aschburner

If caveats were fish eggs, the New York Knicks would be awash in swanky hors d’oeuvres.

But Kenyon Martin‘s signing to a 10-day contract has nothing to do with caviar and everything to do with questions that hang over his preparedness and concentration for the task at hand. They’re the same qualifiers that would come up for any 35 year old who has played only portions of the past five NBA seasons.

Consider all the “if-then” clauses built into old Denver teammate Carmelo Anthony‘s assessment of Martin’s possible value to New York, as quoted by Frank Isola in the Daily News:

“The way I look at it, if he’s in shape, he’s ready to play and he’s locked in then I really think he’s a big attribute to this team,” Anthony said before the Knicks’ skid hit four with a 100-98 loss in Toronto. “I was able to play with him in Denver for multiple years and know from a basketball standpoint what he brings to a game when he’s locked in, when he’s focused.

“I haven’t talked to him. I haven’t seen him. People that I know that know him tell me he’s in shape and he’s ready and he’s focused. As long as that’s the plan, we’re all for it.”

Amar’e Stoudemire is a power forward whose minutes already have been dinged by coach Mike Woodson‘s use of Anthony at that spot. Adding Martin to the mix worsens the logjam. But Stoudemire was another one firmly in the wait-and-see camp, telling the News:

“I haven’t seen him in a year. We’ll see what type of shape he’s in and what he can do.”

Martin has missed all of the preseason and nearly four months of the regular season, and rumors that had him signing earlier with Miami never came to pass. Last year, the veteran headed to Japan during the lockout, than returned in February for a $2.5 million deal and a supporting role with the Clippers (5.2 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 22.4 mpg off the bench).

He is nine years removed from his lone NBA All-Star appearance and his production per 36 minutes has declined, hastened by injury, for the past seven years. At this point, the idea of Kenyon Martin seems greater than the reality, though the cost of a 10-day to the Knicks is low and Woodson was expected to meet with the power forward Saturday before he suits up, presumably in time for Sunday’s game against Philadelphia. Reported Isola:

After watching film of Martin from last season, Woodson said: “If he’s got anything left in his tank I think he can still help us.”

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