Putting Caleb Martin into a possible trade for Damian Lillard could be a “real sticking point” for the Miami Heat in negotiations, according to a report.
"A real sticking point in negotiations could be the inclusion of Caleb Martin… I have been told the Heat would prefer to keep Martin. They view him as an important part of a championship contender."
— Locked On Heat (@LockedOnHeat) July 4, 2023
Tyler Herro reportedly believes he is going to be traded by Miami, very likely as part of a deal for Lillard, but the Portland Trail Blazers seemingly aren’t very interested in getting Herro for themselves. He could land elsewhere as part of a three-team trade.
Getting Martin possibly could make the Trail Blazers more willing to compromise with the Heat to reach a satisfying result for all sides.
The 27-year-old emerged during Miami’s 2023 playoff run in part because Herro was injured in Game 1 of the first round and did not play after that. Martin helped pick up the scoring slack by averaging 12.7 points per game in the playoffs after averaging 9.6 points per game in the regular season.
Miami this offseason has already lost Gabe Vincent to the Los Angeles Lakers and Max Strus to the Cleveland Cavaliers, and with Herro also possibly departing in a trade for Lillard, it’s easy to see why the Heat maybe don’t want to let go of Martin as well.
Though Miami is clearly ready to add a star like Lillard to support Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, the Heat would still need some quality pieces to surround their new Big 3 with. They have been waiting patiently for Lillard to make his trade request, so have done relatively little since free agency opened, adding Josh Richardson and Thomas Bryant and agreeing to a new deal with Kevin Love.
Miami could benefit from Lillard’s strong desire to land with the Heat, which could be scaring off other teams from trying to work on a deal with Portland. If there is only one place Lillard would be happy to go, the Trail Blazers might not have the leverage needed to get Martin included in a trade.
Adding Lillard would no doubt keep Miami among the NBA’s top title contenders, and finding a way to keep Martin would only make the Heat even stronger.