26-Year-Old Key Free Agent Expresses Desire to Play for Heat Next Season

Caleb Martin, Tyler Herro, Dewayne Dedmon

Getty Tyler Herro #14 of the Miami Heat celebrates with Caleb Martin #16 and Dewayne Dedmon #21 against the Chicago Bulls

There are question marks around the state of the Miami Heat’s roster and who will be back next season. Following a heartbreaking loss in the Eastern Conference Finals, many believe the Heat should move on from their core and add another star, even current NBA player Joel Embiid publicly stated that. That has brought rumors of the team trading for players like James HardenDonovan Mitchell, and Bradley Beal. Some of those rumors feel more likely than others. 

However, before they make any decisions with other player expect them to address some of the players they currently have. The Heat’s pending free agents include Victor Oladipo, Caleb Martin, and Dewayne Dedmon all of which were part of Miami’s rotation. 

One Heat player has been very clear of his intentions heading into free agency, and that is returning to Miami. 

Caleb Martin ‘I want to be here’

Caleb Martin joined the Heat on a two-way contract and, due to injuries and COVID-19 protocols, got an opportunity to prove himself with the Heat, and the 26-year-old made the most of it. Martin averaged 9.2 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 1.0 steals per game this season. All career bests. His play has made him a player that is expected to get multiple offers this offseason. However, in his May 31 exit interview, he did express his desire to return to the Heat.  

“I want to be here [in Miami],” he said during his exit interview Tuesday. “I got better here … I feel like my team and staff believe in me and feel I’ll get better here.”

Martin improved across the board in Miami, and he cites that and Heat Culture as part of his decision in wanting to be back in Miami. 

 “I feel like I can step in and start. It doesn’t matter what the role is and what a team needs from me, I feel like I can fill that void. My game expanded shooting-wise, being more efficient and consistent … I feel like I took big steps and I feel like I’m only going to take larger steps going forward.” Martin continued. 

Whether Heat Culture played a role, the guard said, 

“[Heat Culture] is tough. It’s hard for some people to get it if they haven’t seen it first-hand. … I feel like once I got here, I knew, pretty quickly, that these are my type of guys — mentally, the work ethic, and to every aspect of everything in this organization. [Miami] is the place for me. That’s what it’s felt like since I got here.”

Miami Next Season

Miami Heat coach, Erik Spoelstra spoke to the media about what the team may do, including bringing back their core for another season. 

“Look at the history of how we’ve done things since Pat and Micky have created this culture,” Spoelstra said, as reported by Sun Sentinel‘s Ira Winderman. “Anytime we’re close and have banged on the door, even if it ended in a disappointing loss, our history has shown that we usually bring the majority of the group back, the core back, and we take another shot at it.”

While that is true, Pat Riley has also proven to know when it is time to move on from players to get to the next step, and if he believes this isn’t the team to that can bring a championship, he will move on. However, the Heat coach might not want that. 

“Yeah, you want to have a chance to do it again with the same group. I love this group. I love the locker room. And I’m just really grateful we had an opportunity to collaborate and work together and experience everything this season,” Spoelstra continued. 

With Spoelstra saying that he wants the locker room to stay close to the same group as it currently sits and Martin expressing his desire to be in Miami, it seems almost guaranteed he will be in a Heat uniform next season, and based on his words, the making of a Heat-lifer. 

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