NBA Trade Deadline: ESPN Insider Urges a Move on Surprise Heat Forward

Caleb Martin Heat

Getty Heat forward Caleb Martin appears to have a bright future in Miami.

According to one NBA insider, the Miami Heat aren’t expected to pull off any blockbuster moves heading into the trade deadline.

According to ESPN’s Bobby Marks, the Heat likely won’t pull off any deals before the trade deadline on February 10. So what are Miami’s likely moves before then? Signing key rotation player Caleb Martin to a regular contract — he’s currently on a two-way deal — and potentially filling their open roster spot with a player who is bought out after the trade deadline.

“When healthy and at full strength, Miami is a top-four team in the East,” says Marks. “That is why the Heat’s trade-deadline additions will likely be internal moves. The two-way contract of Caleb Martin could be converted to a regular contract, and former All-Star Oladipo — who has been out since April 8 after undergoing surgery on his right quadriceps tendon — could return.

Martin is averaging a career high in minutes (22.4), points (8.8) and field goal percentage (50.5%) this season.

The Heat do have one roster spot available and can fill it starting on March 25 while staying below the luxury tax, so Miami could look to add a player who is bought out after the trade deadline.”

Martin’s Play Has Energized Heat

Martin has been the biggest surprise on the Heat this season. Entering the 2021-22 campaign, the former 26-year-old undrafted free agent had made just 71 career appearances across two seasons with the Charlotte Hornets. The 6-foot-5 small forward averaged just 5.3 points and 2.5 rebounds per game on 43.4 percent shooting from the field and 33.3 percent from beyond the arc as a bit rotation player for the Hornets.

However, Martin’s role has been key for an injured-plagued Heat squad that still remains near the top of the Eastern Conference with a 25-15 record. Martin’s effective field goal percentage of 57.8 from the field actually ranks third on the team.

Players on two-way contracts are not eligible for the playoffs. Considering Martin’s value to the team, it’s almost a no-brainer that he’ll be inked to a standard contract by season’s end.

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Awaiting Oladipo’s Return to the Court

Another key player to watch for the Heat moving forward is the status of Victor Oladipo.

The former All-Star guard has yet to appear in a game this season due to surgery on his right quadriceps tendon back in May. Although an official timetable on a return has yet to be revealed, Oladipo is currently traveling with the team — a huge indicator that a return may be be on the horizon.

“It’s a big step,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra told the Miami Herald in December. “It’s not about a step of when he’ll be back. It’s more about just the emotional and mental boost for him. He has been doing all this work behind the scenes, at the arena while we’ve been on the road. And we’ve been on the road virtually the entire season. So he hasn’t been with us for a large part of it.”

Oladipo was initially acquired by the Heat in a trade with the Houston Rockets last season. He made just four appearances with the Heat before he was ruled out for the season.

If Oladipo can recapture some of the form that made him a two-time All-Star with the Indiana Pacers, the Heat could emerge as a dark-horse team during the NBA postseason.

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