Heat make Martin restricted free agent

The Miami Heat extended a qualifying offer to Caleb Martin on Tuesday. The move makes him a restricted free agent, giving the Heat to match outside offers, when negotiations begin June 30 at 6 pm ET. During his exit interview after the Heat season ended, Martin said that he wants to stay in Miami.

Despite entering the season on a two-way contract, Martin became a consistent rotation player early in the season. After Markieff Morris’ injury, the former Charlotte Hornet slotted in as a small-ball four who offered versatile defense and improved 3-point shooting. In the 2020-21 season with Charlotte, Martin shot just 25 percent from 3 on 2.4 attempts per game. Last year, Martin shot 41 percent on 2.6 attempts per game.

Martin’s breakout came during a December home game against the Milwaukee Bucks. Playing without Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, Martin nailed six 3-pointers to lead the Heat over the then-defending NBA champions.

The Heat would likely turn to either the $6.4 million taxpayer midlevel exception or the $10.3 million non-taxpayer midlevel exception to keep Martin. Athletic wings like Martin are valuable in today’s NBA.

PJ Tucker, who Martin backed up, is expected to opt out of his player option.

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