In recent days, Caleb Martin has been playing some of the best basketball of his career for the Miami Heat. Over his last three games, the third-year forward is averaging 16 points, four rebounds and 1.7 steals per contest while hitting 68% of his shot attempts and 58.3% from deep.
Over that stretch, the Heat have outscored the opposition by an incredible 31.2 points per 100 possessions when he has been on the court. It’s the best mark on the team by a college mile.
Given the way in which he has responded, it’s little wonder that Miami opted to convert his previous two-way pact to a standard NBA deal, even as the move cost the club a significant chunk of change. At this point, it’s nigh impossible to imagine the Heat entering postseason play without him.
Nevertheless, the Heat have a major deicison to make with the breakout forward once the offseason hits.
B/R: Caleb Martin Presents Miami’s Biggest Dilemma
Miami has some soul-searching to do with a number of players this summer, including Victor Oladipo, Dewayne Dedmon, Markieff Morris and others. According to Bleacher Report’s Grant Hughes, though, Martin is the headliner.
The Miami Heat’s scouting and player development operation remain among the best in the league, so you could forgive the franchise for believing it can simply find the next Caleb Martin for a much lower price than it may take to keep the current one.
That said, the Heat will have to decide how much they’re willing to pay in the event of a bidding war for Martin in restricted free agency.
As it stands, Martin may have earned himself a deal in the neighborhood of the full mid-level exception. For the year, he’s averaging 9.6 points, four rebounds and one steal in 23.1 minutes per game. He’s also shooting 39.1% from deep. However, given the team’s cap situation, it’s not a sure thing that he’s brought back.
The Heat picked him off the scrap heap, and now he’s likely to be a rotation fixture as they push for a Finals berth. Does Miami satisfy itself with a bargain find and let another team pay full freight for Martin’s next deal? Or does it have faith that Martin will still be a value on a larger salary?
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Lowry Returning to the Fold?
While fans have been hyping “Dipo Day” as Oladipo looks to be on track to make his long-awaited return on Monday night against the Rockets, he may not be the only multi-time All-Star getting back onto the court.
Per the league’s latest injury report, point-man Kyle Lowry — who has missed Miami’s last four games due to personal reasons — has been upgraded to questionable for the bout with Houston. In the event that Lowry can’t go, Oladipo could see more time than anticipated (assuming he plays).
In 48 games this season, Lowry has averaged 13.4 points, 7.9 assists and 4.6 rebounds per contest.