Heat’s Caleb Martin Named Top ‘Last-Minute Trade Target’ for NBA Contender

Caleb Martin

Getty Caleb Martin of the Miami Heat.

Current Miami Heat small forward Caleb Martin has been named a top trade target for the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Bleacher Report’s Dan Favale put together “Last-Minute Trade Target Lists for Every NBA Team,” and he named Martin the best potential trade target for OKC. The trade deadline is February 8 at 3 p.m. ET, and it would be a surprise if Miami moved anyone at this point. Still, if the Thunder offered the Heat solid compensation in return for Martin, a deal is possible.

“The Oklahoma City Thunder are fighting for first place in the Western Conference and have the assets to trade for just about anyone they damn please,” Favale wrote, before making his case for why OKC may covet a player with Martin’s skill set.

“Martin is the consummate gap-filler—and my favorite target on the board,” favale wrote. “He can eat up minutes at the 2, 3 or 4 on both ends and doesn’t require the ball yet has the skill set to tee up others. The Miami Heat would typically treat him as close to untouchable. But he’s a free agent this summer (player option), and the Heatles are close enough to skirting the tax that the Thunder can juice up their pursuit by rallying third- and fourth-party facilitators to get Miami all the way there.”

Why the Heat Could Still Trade Caleb Martin

The short answer is that Miami could lose Martin for nothing if it doesn’t trade him before the deadline this year.

Martin is due just over $6.8 million this season, and he has a player option at the end of the year. The expectation is he’ll decline it and see what other teams are willing to pay him. If that happens, he’ll be out the door and Miami will have failed to get any assets in return for him.

The emergence of rookie Jamie Jaquez Jr. along with Haywood Highsmith have also given the Heat options at forward this season, thus making Martin a tad more expendable. It would be understandable if Miami moved on via trade, as the Heat could recoup some draft capital after the recent Terry Rozier trade.

Martin is a solid two-way player, and he should have interest, as he’ll be an asset for any team looking to make a postseason run — which is why Oklahoma City is such an intriguing fit.

Why the Thunder Make Sense as a Trade Destination

The Thunder are currently in second place in the Western Conference with a 35-16 record. Led by young stars Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Chet Holmgren, OKC is one of the more exciting and promising teams in the West. It wouldn’t be surprising if they made a push to add Martin, particularly after his performance in the playoffs in 2023.

Martin broke out in a big way during the 2023 postseason, when he averaged double figures in three of the Heat’s four playoff series (10.5 points vs. the Knicks, 11.2 points against the Bucks and 19.3 points against the Celtics in the conference finals.

In 34 games this season (12 starts), Martin is averaging a career-high 10.2 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.2 assists, also a career-best. It’ll be interesting to see if the Heat decide to keep him for one more playoff run.

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