2 Reasons Why the Heat Won’t Elevate Caleb Martin to Main Roster

Caleb Martin

Getty Caleb Martin #16 of the Miami Heat celebrates a three pointer against the Utah Jazz during the second half at FTX Arena on November 06, 2021 in Miami, Florida.

The Miami Heat is breaking all the rules when it comes to Caleb Martin, whom they signed to a two-way contract this summer. The Heat has consistently added players from their own summer league or training camp, but the franchise suddenly swerved to sign an outside forward in free agency.

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Martin went undrafted out of Nevada before signing with the Charlotte Hornets. After two years with the team, Charlotte waived him in August, and Miami picked him up in a deal that seems to be the steal of the season.

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It wasn’t clear how much playing time Martin would see with the Heat, as the former Mountain West Player of the Year has had an uneven NBA career thus far. After nailing 54.1% on threes during his rookie season, he shot just 24.8% from deep last year.

However, Martin is proving to be such a reliable backup forward, he scored seven points and five rebounds against the Washington Wizards on Thursday night that Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra keeps calling him up.

Under a two-way contract agreement, Martin can be on the Heat’s active roster for 50 of the season’s 82 games, while also developing with the G-League’s Sioux Falls Skyforce.

As of November 19, the 26-year-old has already appeared in 13 of the Heat’s 16 games thus far this season, which has many people wondering why he hasn’t been promoted.

The first reason is money. The Heat are just $450,000 under the salary cap and elevating Martin to a standard contract would require the team to get hit by the ominous luxury tax… which leads us to the second reason.

If Miami is going to go over the salary cap, they will likely only do so to add a major player before the trade deadline. Miami still has one final open spot on their roster, but it’s likely that Heat president Pat Riley is waiting to see who becomes available before giving it to Martin.


If Martin’s Games are Limited, Why are the Heat Playing Him So Much?


It seems as if the Heat are using up all of Martin’s eligibility before the All-Star break, but Spoelstra doesn’t see that as an issue. The way he appears to be approaching the situation is to try to use Martin to win now and worry about what happens in the Spring when the time comes.

As it stands, the Heat’s starting lineup contains numerous veteran stars that require regular rest days, and Spoelstra feels most comfortable using Martin in plug-and-play situations.

In the Heat’s back pocket, is the eventual return of Victor Oladipo. Hopefully, when the two-time All-Star is cleared to play, the Heat won’t have to rely on Martin as much.


If the Heat Don’t Promote Martin, Can Another Team Snatch Him Up?

Caleb Martin, Miami Heat

GettyCaleb Martin, Miami Heat

Because a two-way contract doesn’t count against the team’s salary cap, the Heat are in rush to promote him, nor can another team steal Martin from under the Heat’s nose. Because the 6-foot-5 forward is a restricted free agent, the Heat will have the chance to match any outside offer before Martin can accept.

Overall, it seems highly like Miami will sign him next season, as they have his rights when free agency hits.

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