Report: Caleb Martin and Miami Heat had ‘intense’ contract talks that left team ‘dumbfounded’

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Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Heat reportedly offered small forward Caleb Martin a five-year, $65 million extension to remain in Miami before free agency started.

But the deal would’ve required Martin to opt into the final year of his previous contract, and he ended up opting out.

Martin reportedly just agreed to a four-year deal with the Philadelphia 76ers. Multiple figures have been reported for the value of the deal, from the $32 million ballpark to $40 million, but either way, he will be paid significantly less annually than he would’ve had he accepted Miami’s offer.

The Heat and Martin’s camp reportedly had “intense” contract talks that left Miami “dumbfounded.”

Martin spent the last three seasons of his NBA career with the Heat after beginning his career with the Charlotte Hornets. Across 195 total regular-season games played in Miami, he averaged 9.6 points per contest on 46.3 percent shooting from the floor and 36.8 percent shooting from deep along with 4.4 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 0.9 steals per game.

The 28-year-old was an invaluable contributor on a Heat team that made it all the way to the NBA Finals as the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference in 2023. He appeared in every one of Miami’s 23 playoff games and averaged 12.7 points per game while scoring the ball with great efficiency, as he shot 52.9 percent from the field and 42.3 percent from 3-point range.

There’s an argument to be made that Martin was Miami’s best and most consistent player in the 2023 Eastern Conference Finals against the Boston Celtics. He averaged 19.3 points per game for the series — the second-most of any player on the Heat behind teammate Jimmy Butler — and also knocked down 60.2 percent of his shots from the floor, including 48.9 percent of his looks from deep.

He will join a 76ers team that seems primed to contend in the Eastern Conference this coming season. After all, Philadelphia and star veteran Paul George came to an agreement on a four-year deal worth over $200 million earlier on in free agency.

Martin’s playoff experience and ability to impact the ball on both ends of the floor should make him a valuable addition to the 76ers lineup, and here’s to hoping that he will have success moving forward.

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Jesse is a 23-year-old sports journalist with extensive experience covering the NBA.