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Posted at 06:51 PM ET, 07/25/2012

Wizards’ Cartier Martin on return: ‘It’s a relief’


I’m all in. Whooo! (Jonathan Newton - WASHINGTON POST)
When Cartier Martin weighed his options in free agency, the Wizards were the only team that really made sense. After all, they were the only NBA team he has represented the past two seasons, and he has been around Washington for parts of the past three.

Odd as it might sound, with Andray Blatche gone, Martin is the only player on the roster who played in Washington before John Wall arrived as the No. 1 overall pick in 2010.

“I feel like Washington was the best situation for me at this time,” Martin said while in Las Vegas. “Being able to come back in with the staff, gives me a little bit of comfort, being familiar and understanding what they want and I feel that will give me more confidence as a player to showcase my full potential. I’m thankful for the opportunity to come back.”

Martin’s gratitude is understandable, considering his arduous journey to securing another full-time job in the NBA. After breaking his foot late in the 2010-11 season, Martin was defrauded by his former AAU coach, Dave Salinas, who later killed himself after he was caught running a Ponzi scheme. The lockout then forced him to seek employment in China and later in the Development League before he signed a 10-day contract in late March.

But Martin emerged as the one of Wizards’ most reliable perimeter options in just 17 games with the team last season. He averaged a career-best 9.3 points and shot 38.7 percent from long distance. John Wall also lobbied for his return.

“Coming over there and being able to play a few games. It was big,” Martin said. “It’s a relief. Helps you to focus on what you need to work on, going into training camp, rather than not knowing what’s going on and you try to do so many things that you’re doing some things that aren’t even good for your body. But I know what I’m going to do. I know where I’m going to be. It’s a matter now of getting everything in order and doing what they need to do.”

The best part of getting his signing out of the way, Martin said, is that his wife, Shallanie, 26, and 1-year old son, Cartier Jr., will be able to join him. “That’s big for my family,” Martin said. “Being able to see them all the time, being able to see my son.”

While in Las Vegas, Martin worked out with teammates Trevor Ariza and Jordan Crawford, and is encouraged about having a chance to finally win some games with the Wizards. “I think they’ve made some great moves. We’re headed in the right direction and I think they’ve brought in some good pieces to help that,” Martin said, without diminishing his own role in the process. “I’ll come in, defend, rebound, shoot open shots and be a team player. Be a team player and a good person in the locker room. That’s where it starts.”

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