5 Free agents the Miami Heat can sign to replace Caleb Martin

Caleb Martin is due for a payday that the Heat can't afford. But there are some potential free agents that fit Miami's budget.
Philadelphia 76ers v Miami Heat
Philadelphia 76ers v Miami Heat / Megan Briggs/GettyImages
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With Caleb Martin’s impending free agency coming up soon, the Miami Heat are going to have to plan to look elsewhere for another key role player. Martin is expected to pursue a payday, and with Miami deep into the second apron and hard capped financially, it is very unlikely that payday comes from the Heat. This is another undrafted success story with the franchise; arriving here on a two-way contract initially, earning regular rotation minutes and then becoming one of the team’s biggest x-factors.

Against the Boston Celtics in last year’s Eastern Conference finals, Martin was in the conversation for the series MVP. He averaged 19.3 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.7 assists on an outstanding 59.7% shooting from the field. His best game of the series came in that close out game 7 win inside TD Garden where he dropped a 26-point, 10-rebound double-double on 68.8% shooting. 

There were a plethora of other great moments during Martin’s Heat tenure. He quickly emerged as an elite point of attack defender on the perimeter who was able to shoot the ball and slash to the rim. Unless Martin decides to take a paycut to stay with the organization that took a chance on him and continue to build with this core, it seems like he could be on his way out. There should be plenty of suitors for a role player of his caliber on contending teams.

With that being said, Miami will have to replace him on the roster. His two-way versatility can make it hard to do so, but there will be some intriguing options available that could sign for the veteran minimum. 

Gordon Hayward 

This could be more of a low-risk, high-reward type of move. Gordon Hayward is coming off an OKC Thunder tenure where he received little to no playing time towards the end of this season. The Thunder traded for him with his former team, the Charlotte Hornets, at the trade deadline. At first, Hayward seemed like a great veteran addition to add the young Thunder core and locker room.

Unfortunately it hasn’t worked out that way for Hayward, who saw himself as the odd man out of their rotation come postseason. This is still a player that is capable of making an impact on the court. Before being traded this season, the 34 year-old forward was putting up 14.5 points, 4.7 rebounds and 4.6 assists on 46.8% shooting and 36.1% from 3-point range in 25 games for Charlotte.

Pat Riley and the Heat front office tend to circle back on players that they almost acquired in the past. Hayward almost signed with Miami during the 2017 summer where he was still in All-Star form. Ultimately he wound up choosing the Boston Celtics over the culture in South Florida, but he could have another opportunity to come here for a discounted price.