Heat Notes: Martin, Second Apron, Spoelstra, Butler

Caleb Martin said at Friday’s exit interviews that his preference is to remain with the Heat, but Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald explains that the team’s financial situation may not make that realistic. Martin has a $7.1MM player option for next season, which he’s expected to turn down to seek a longer and more lucrative contract in free agency.

“Everybody knows I want to be here. I make that known,” Martin told reporters. “That’s my goal is to be able to stay here, make it work. I want to be here as long as possible and for them to want me to come back. That’s my main goal.”

As we noted recently, it will be difficult for Miami to re-sign Martin and free agent Haywood Highsmith without crossing the second tax apron for next season. Chiang points out that the Heat have seven players under contract for 2024/25, and assuming Kevin Love, Josh Richardson and Thomas Bryant all pick up their options, the team salary would be around $173MM with five slots left to fill.

Adding $4.2MM for the 15th pick in the draft, another $2.1MM for Orlando Robinson‘s contract, which is non-guaranteed for next season, and $2.5MM in unlikely bonuses for Tyler Herro, which have to be included for apron calculations, brings that total to $181.8MM for 12 players. That’s already above the projected first apron of $179MM and only $8.2MM away from the severe restrictions that are part of the second apron.

There’s more from Miami:

  • Coach Erik Spoelstra rejects the idea that the Heat didn’t place enough emphasis on the regular season and didn’t make a strong attempt to avoid the play-in tournament, per Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe. After advancing from the play-in to the NBA Finals last year, there was a perception that Miami was content to try to do it again, which led to a bad first-round matchup with Boston. “To say that we did not philosophically take the regular season seriously, that’s totally off base,” Spoelstra said. “I could see why people would point to that because of missed games. We’re not a load-management team. There were things that happened and sometimes you can’t control that.”
  • With Jimmy Butler expected to seek a two-year extension worth about $113MM, ESPN’s Zach Lowe speculated on his latest podcast that Butler could be on the trade market this summer (hat tip to Bleacher Report). “There are scenarios, let’s just say, where the Heat trade Jimmy Butler for some future assets and some other stuff,” Lowe said, “… and that gives them the ammo to go out and call the Cavs, and say, ‘Hey, what about Donovan Mitchell?'” Butler is under contract through next season and has a $52.4MM player option for 2025/26.
  • Butler made some pointed comments about two Eastern Conference rivals and one of his former coaches (Twitter link from Rock the Bells). “If I was playing, Boston would be at home,” said Butler, who missed the first-round series with an MCL sprain. “New York damn sure would be f—ing at home.” Butler also rejected the idea that Josh Hart could guard him and said he has “love” for Tom Thibodeau but wouldn’t be interested in playing for him again. “I love Thibs but I don’t want Thibs,” Butler continued. “I love you baby, but I want to beat you to a pulp. You want me. I don’t want you. It’s like a one-sided relationship. You in love with me and I love you but I’m not in love with you.”
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