The Golden State Warriors‘ objective remains unchanged from what it was during the regular season: find a way to win 16 playoff games and hoist another trophy. As of this writing, the team is almost halfway there, having just gone up 3-1 on the Memphis Grizzlies in their West semifinal series.
Whether they win it all or not, though, the Dubs have a whole set of other issues to contend with this offseason. Specifically, they have to find some way to fill out their roster amid a hellacious luxury tax situation and still be good enough to compete at a championship level.
Right now, the team has a payroll exceeding $171 million with just eight players under contract. So, we’re largely talking about minimum-salary and rookie-scale deals.
Having said that, Golden State is one of the few franchises with an ability to coax high-level ballers into playing for peanuts. Case in point: Otto Porter Jr., who last summer bypassed mid-level paydays to come and play with the Warriors for the vet min.
According to one writer, there’s a world where they may be able to make a similarly ambitious move with an even younger and equally valuable player this offseason.
Warriors Could Take a Stab at Caleb Martin
On Tuesday, Bleacher Report’s Dan Favale dropped his list of ambitious free-agent targets for all of the league’s 30 teams. With the Warriors, he ultimately landed on swingman Caleb Martin, who has been one of the stories of the Heat’s incredible season.
Caleb Martin can help fill whatever void is left on the perimeter [after other moves] or elevate a wing rotation untouched. He is a mission-critical part of the Miami Heat’s buzz-saw bench, routinely picking up the toughest defensive assignments across all non-center slots while rounding out his offensive game to become the consummate complement.
After joining the Heat as a two-way signee in September, Martin played his way into a rotational spot — with a little help from injuries and a COVID-19 outbreak — and never looked back.
In 60 appearances with Miami, including 12 starts, the 26-year-old averaged 9.2 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.0 steals in 22.9 minutes per game (all career highs). He also shot 50.7% from the field and 41.3% from distance.
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He’d Likely Be a Tough Get
Martin is labeled as an ambitious target for good reason. As a 26-year-old restricted free agent, the baller is about to get his first-ever crack at making big-time dollars on a long-term deal, and there could be multiple teams out there willing to give him something at or near the mid-level exception.
Considering the long, winding road he had to follow to get to this point, asking Martin to take a pay cut may be a fool’s errand.
If anything, the Heat might be the one team he’d be willing to offer a discount. After all, they made the move to convert his two-way deal to a standard contract long before they had to, netting him some extra scratch in the process.
And setting his impressive two-way impact on the court aside, Martin would also hold value for the star-hunting Heat as a trade piece. So, Pat Riley has no shortage of reasons to try and keep him around.