Either Caleb Martin doesn’t fully understand this NBA free-agency thing, or the Miami Heat have completely sold the rising forward that their approach is the best.
An impending free agent whose much-located variety might attract outside interest, Martin essentially pulled out of his first season with the Heat and asked where he might sign on the dotted line.
Of course, it’s not that easy, with Martin being offered a $2.1 million qualifying offer for next season from the Heat by the end of the month and then leaving it to see if there are any higher outside offers.
But even so, Martin doesn’t look like the priority is looking for the highest bidder, with a no-show-me-the-money approach here.
“I’m obviously open-minded,” he said amid interviews with the Heat’s exit, “but I want to be here. I’ve gotten better here. And I believe I’ll get better here.”
“Obviously, I just want a good position, no matter what. But I feel like I feel better and more confident about how close I’ve become with the people and people around here. My team and my staff believe in me and believe that I am going to get better here.”
The Heat showed their confidence in midseason when, under no obligation to do so, they upgraded him from a two-way contract to a standard deal at double the paygrade. The move came as Martin helped activate the bench in the first half of the season, before injuries began to take its toll.
“Going into free agency, it’s my first experience,” he said. “But I want to be here. I love being here. I want to be here. So that’s all I have on my mind right now.”
With the Heat having so many high-end contracts, from Jimmy Butler to Bam Adebayo to Kyle Lowry and even Duncan Robinson, Martin would seem to be the right player at the right price point.
“I think it’s definitely the place for me, and it’s felt like it ever since I’ve been here,” he said, adding that he was waived by the Charlotte Hornets in August after being signed by the Heat in September. was done. “And that’s why I feel like I’ve taken such a big leap so quickly while I’m here and I feel like I’ll take an even bigger leap while I’m here. It’s hard to explain to some people that they’re not experiencing it.” “
During his first heat season, Martin was cast from shooting guard to power forward at small forward, even going as far as to start 12 games. It is that versatility that drives the value.
“And I think it’s the iceberg kind of thing with me, where I feel like I can be one of those guys who has ups and downs where the team needs everything they want from me,” he said. “To be a guy off the bench, I feel like I can step up and start over. Whatever a team needs from me, I think I can fill that point.
“I feel like my game expanded, shooting-wise, being more proficient, being more consistent and still learning how to do that year in and year out.”
There was a point where it appeared Martin could push himself out of bounds for the Heat, with the team still unable to go above the mid-level exception of $10.6 million to match outside offers.
But after injuries and further down the rotation, where they were ruled out of the season-ending Game 7 finale against the Boston Celtics, the market has reset to a place where the returnees are both a player and a team. may prove prudent.
“I think it was a big season,” he said. “Obviously, it takes a lot to see it go up and down, in such a short period of time in a season. Whether it’s a twist or an injury or whatever, I think it really got into my mindset, going into that.” Helped to pursue that mindset, just to be able to adjust to everything and be okay with it and accept that part of my role.
“That’s the role I accepted when I came here and when I was signed, knowing that my position was going to happen, and things were going to fluctuate and I had to be okay with that and adjust on the fly. So I think it’s only going to make me a better player and ultimately stronger.”