Wednesday, January 26, 2022

NBA trading deadline: ESPN insider urges a step towards surprise heat

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According to an NBA insider, the Miami Heat is not expected to pull off blockbuster moves before the trading deadline.

According to ESPN’s Bobby Marks, the Heat is unlikely to close any deals before the February 10th trading deadline. So what are the likely steps Miami will take until then? Key rotation player Caleb Martin’s commitment to a regular contract – he currently has a two-way deal – and possibly occupying his open squad spot with a player who will be bought out after the trading deadline.

“If you are in good health and in full strength, Miami is a top four team in the East,” says Marks. “Therefore, the additions to Heat’s trading deadlines will likely be internal movements. Caleb Martin’s two-way contract could be converted to a regular contract, and former all-star Oladipo – who has been out since April 8 after surgery on his right quadriceps tendon – could return.

Martin has reached a career high this season in minutes (22.4), points (8.8) and field goal percentage (50.5%).

The Heat has a squad spot available and will be able to fill it from March 25th while it remains under luxury tax so Miami could try to add a player who will be bought out after the trading deadline.

Martin was the biggest surprise at the Heat this season. At the start of the 2021-22 season, the former 26-year-old vacant free agent had only completed 71 careers with the Charlotte Hornets in two seasons. The 6-foot-5 small forward averaged just 5.3 points and 2.5 rebounds per game in 43.4 percent shots from the field and 33.3 percent from beyond the arc as a bit-rotation player for the Hornets.

Martin’s role, however, was key to an injury-ridden Heat squad that still tops the Eastern Conference with a 25-15 record. Martin’s effective field goal percentage of 57.8 from the field actually ranks third on the team.

Players with two-way contracts are not eligible for the playoffs. Given Martin’s value to the team, it’s almost a no-brainer for him to get a standard contract until the end of the season.

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Another key player to keep an eye on as the Heat evolves is the status of Victor Oladipo.

The former All-Star Guard is yet to appear in a game this season due to surgery on his right quadriceps tendon in May. Although an official schedule for a return has not yet been announced, Oladipo is currently traveling with the team – a great indicator that a return is in sight.

“It’s a big step,” said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra to the Miami Herald in December. “It’s not about when he’s back. It is more just about the emotional and mental boost. He did all of this work behind the scenes, in the arena, while we were out. And we were out practically the whole season. So he wasn’t with us most of the time. “

Oladipo was originally acquired by the Heat last season as part of a deal with the Houston Rockets. He made only four appearances with the Heat before being expelled for the season.

If Oladipo can regain some of the form that made him a two-time All-Star at the Indiana Pacers, the Heat could emerge as the Dark Horse team in the NBA postseason.

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