As much or more than any other club in the NBA, the Miami Heat have benefited from players all over their roster stepping up. That’s why — on a team that has Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo and Kyle Lowry on its roster — Tyler Herro has arguably been the Heat’s ace in 2021-22.
Where competing for a title is concerned, it’s an incredible development. After entering the campaign with question marks in the second unit, the Heat suddenly look like one of the deepest teams in the Association and a true contender.
There’s at least one drawback, though, to Miami getting so much more out of its No. 2s and 3s than anticipated. Namely, the fact that they’re going to have to fork out a lot more money to keep some of these guys around long-term.
While Herro is the most obvious example there, with some wondering whether he might command a max extension, keeping Caleb Martin in the fold may prove equally challenging, according to a team insider.
The Martin Conundrum
In a Q&A piece for the Sun-Sentinel, Ira Winderman was asked what the team will realistically have to pay to keep Martin in the fold.
The Heat guru agreed with the person asking the question that the baller’s minutes aren’t guaranteed and that he likely wouldn’t be offered at a deal near the full mid-level exception. However, he didn’t totally slam the door on the possibility of that kind of payout, either.
“While I agree that the Heat likely won’t have to go to the maximum that they can offer, it only takes one bidder to complicate the process,” Winderman wrote.
“The Heat already have seen it with Tyler Johnson, when he wasn’t assured of rotation minutes, either. So perhaps this will be a case of learning from the past. But it is undeniable that Caleb Martin has been essential to this composition of the roster.”
Martin has definitely exceeded any expectations the Heat may have had for him entering the campaign. Through 45 games (including 10 starts), he has averaged 9.4 points, 3.9 rebounds and 1.0 steals per game while shooting 37.6% from deep.
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One Good Turn Deserves Another?
When the Heat made the call to convert Martin’s two-way contract to a standard NBA deal, it was a big-time show of good faith by the club. They could have kept him in his old spot for several more weeks, still converted him later and saved some money in the process.
Instead, they moved quickly to make Martin whole and he’s reaping the financial rewards as a result.
Miami would undoubtedly love for him to cut them a break in the other direction this summer. However, there’s no doubt that teams will be offering the 26-year-old contracts paying more than the $4 million bi-annual exception. How much more remains to be seen.
In any case, with a possible Herro extension and PJ Tucker’s option to consider — not to mention the slew of spots they’ll need to fill against an already massive payroll — things could get dicey here for Pat Riley and Co.