The Miami Heat took another step toward bringing back most of the core team from last season that made it to the Eastern Conference Finals by re-signing forward Caleb Martin on Wednesday.
Additionally, the Heat created additional flexibility against the luxury tax by reworking their original one-year, $11 million free agent deal with guard Victor Oladipo into a two-year, roughly $17 million deal. dollars, with a player option in the second year. .
The restructuring with Oladipo, confirmed by an NBA source to the South Florida Sun Sentinel, could also remove the guard’s veto power over a potential trade once he becomes eligible to be moved on January 15 if he opts for the second year in advance.
As for Martin, who came out of a two-way deal for a rotational role last season, he was signed with the Heat’s $6.5 million taxpayer mid-level exception to a three-way contract. years worth about $20.5 million, an NBA source confirmed to the Sentinel of the Sun.
By using the weaker of the NBA’s two main midlevel exceptions with Martin, the Heat avoided being capped.
Had the Heat used the full $10.5 million mid-tier, that would have placed them under a hard cap on the team’s overall payroll.
The Heat declined to use the biggest mid-level exception for starting forward PJ Tucker, who instead entered into such a three-year contract with the Philadelphia 76ers.
Using Martin’s middle tier, the Heat are now likely reduced to filling their roster with NBA minimum wage players.
In addition to Martin, the Heat also brought Oladipo and Dewayne Dedmon back to free agency. Dedmon agreed to a two-year, $9 million contract.
The Heat’s other two free agents entering the offseason, Markieff Morris and Udonis Haslem remain unsigned.
Martin had been a restricted free agent, with the Heat offering a $2.1 million qualifying offer before free agency. This gave the Heat the ability to match outside offers up to the $10.5 million mid-level exception for the upcoming season.
If Martin had received an outside offer sheet, the Heat could not have traded him this season if they were forced to match. Now, Martin becomes eligible to trade on December 15.
Martin, who had earned about $3 million in total in his first three NBA seasons since not being drafted from Nevada in 2019, pointed out before free agency that his last game was to return to the Heat.
“I want to be here. I’ve improved here. And I believe I’m going to improve here,” he said last month. “Obviously I just want a good situation no matter what. But I just think how much closer I’ve gotten to guys and people here and how much better and more confident I’ve been here, I feel like my team and my staff believe in me and believe that I will be better here.
He was enthusiastic about how the Heat helped resurrect his career after being released in August by the Charlotte Hornets.
“I think it’s definitely the place for me, and that’s how I feel since I got here,” he said. “And that’s why I feel like I’ve taken such a big leap so quickly while I’m here and why I think I’ll take even bigger leaps while I’m here. It’s hard to explain to some people if they don’t experience this.
Martin’s twin brother, Cody Martin, who had similar stats to Caleb last season, recently signed a four-year, $32 million deal to stay with the Hornets. Unlike the Heat with Caleb, the Hornets had Bird Rights with Cody, allowing them to start his contract above the exception thresholds.
With the Martin deal, the Heat will have 13 standard-contract players for 2022-23: Bam Adebayo, Jimmy Butler, Dedmon, Haywood Highsmith, Tyler Herro, Nikola Jovic, Kyle Lowry, Martin, Oladipo, Duncan Robinson, Max Strus, Gabe Vincent and Omer Yurtseven.
Teams can carry up to 15 standard-contract players during the regular season plus two two-way contract players. Javonte Smart and Mychal Mulder are currently on bilateral 2022-23 contracts with the Heat.
Teams are allowed to carry up to 20 players during the offseason, making it easier to accommodate multiple players in trades.