The Miami Heat’s most tradeable player between Jovic, Jaquez, and Martin

Miami Heat forward Nikola Jovic (5) looks to pass as Washington Wizards forward Rui Hachimura (8) defends(Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports)
Miami Heat forward Nikola Jovic (5) looks to pass as Washington Wizards forward Rui Hachimura (8) defends(Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports) /

There’s a small percentage of teams across the league in a genuine win-now situation. The Miami Heat definitely find themselves in that category. After two trips to the NBA Finals in the past four seasons, it’s clear that the Heat have the necessary pieces to compete for the Larry O’Brien Trophy. Despite their postseason success, they’re missing the final straw to help hoist up the trophy. Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo led the Heat’s young core, known as two of the biggest two-way stars in the league. They’ve had help from guys like Tyler Herro, Kyle Lowry, and Kevin Love, but it seems like Pat Riley is ready to bring another star to South Beach.

With the addition of a star, Miami finds itself in a scenario to sacrifice a key role player. Herro may be the biggest asset the Heat are willing to give up, but other names in trade scenarios have included Caleb Martin, Jaime Jaquez Jr. and Nikola Jovic. Riley and the Heat are going to need to cut ties with one or even two of these players in order to land the star they want. While taking a look at the Heat’s short and long-term goals, nothing changes. With Riley at the helm, they’ll always be a team looking to compete for immediate success.

Caleb Martin

During its 2023 Finals run, one of Miami’s most prominent players was Martin. The 27-year-old averaged 9.6 points and 4.8 rebounds throughout the regular season, notching an incredible bump in stats during the Eastern Conference finals.

Martin was in contention for the Conference Finals MVP Award after the best series of his career where he recorded 19.3 points and 6.4 rebounds in seven games.

He’s shown that he can produce at a high level, even with the pressure at an all-time high. The problem with Martin is that this could be his last season in a Heat uniform. He’s due $6.8 million next season with a player option in 2024. If he keeps improving, he could be too expensive for the Heat to bring back, given how much they have tied up in Butler, Adebayo and perhaps Damian Lillard, should they be able to complete a trade.

Whether or not he’ll be pushed out in a trade depends on Miami’s stance. They can view him as a player they want to extend for the future or use his value in their favor right now.

Jovic or Jaquez?

The younger players on the block are Jovic and Jaquez. Last season was Jovic’s rookie year and Jaquez is heading into his first season as a pro. Jovic seems like a massive project due to his raw ability and current frame. He’s tested the waters in the G-League as well as the majors, but he’s clearly not ready.

But Jovic has the tools to be a phenomenal player. At 6-foot-10, he can knock down shots from distance and stretch the floor. He can be a special player moving forward, but there’s nothing the Heat need more right now than a consistent contributor.

While Jaquez is the least experienced player on this list, he’s two years older than Jovic and already has an NBA frame. Jaquez spent four seasons with the UCLA Bruins, leading them deep into the NCAA tournament on multiple occasions. He stands at 6-foot-7 like Martin, yet weighs in at 225, which would be around 20 pounds heavier than Jovic. Jaquez is a player that’s fit for the style of basketball in Miami, being a willing defender with the ability to play through contact on the offensive end.

At this point in the process, Jaquez should be viewed as the player the Heat should hold onto, with Martin being the first one out and Jovic being the second option. With age, contract situations, and readiness being huge factors in the Heat’s decision, a scenario where you keep Jaquez, trade Martin, and do whatever is necessary with Jovic should be the answer in trade discussions.