Caleb Martin

Eastern Notes: Lowry, Martin, Robinson, Ivey, Bitadze

Kyle Lowry‘s teammates are thrilled to have him back with the Heat, writes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. The veteran point guard has been sidelined for the past 15 games due to left knee soreness, but he was upgraded to questionable for Saturday’s contest in Orlando and is expected to play tonight, Chiang adds.

That’s my brother. I’m glad to have him back,” Heat star Jimmy Butler said of of Lowry. “He’s going to change the game in so many ways for this team. He’s going to help us get in a groove, he’s going to help us win some games down the stretch moving into the most important part of the season.”

As forward Caleb Martin notes, the Heat haven’t had their whole roster healthy for the grand majority of the season, so he’s looking forward to seeing what they can do.

I just want to have everybody healthy and available, and figure out where we’re going, who is going to be doing what and what roles,” Martin said when asked about Lowry’s return. “The more time we spend together as a whole, it’s going to be better for everybody. I just love when everybody is available to play and I love when everybody is healthy.”

Unfortunately, Martin was later ruled out for Saturday’s matchup due to knee soreness, according to Chiang. He hadn’t missed a game since January 14.

Here’s more from the East:

  • Heat swingman Duncan Robinson has entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols and will be out for Saturday’s matchup with Orlando, Chiang relays in the same story. He didn’t play in Friday’s victory over Cleveland due to an illness, which was presumably later discovered to be COVID-19.
  • Pistons guard Jaden Ivey has also entered the health and safety protocols, per Alberto De Roa of HoopsHype. He will at minimum be sidelined for Saturday’s game against Indiana. Last year’s No. 5 overall pick is averaging 15.4 PPG, 3.9 RPG and 4.9 APG on .415/.331/.732 shooting through 62 games (30.2 MPG) as a rookie for Detroit.
  • Goga Bitadze signed with the Magic as a free agent last month after he was released by Indiana. The fourth-year center has played limited minutes with his new club, but he’s taking advantage of his opportunities on the offensive glass, according to Khobi Price of The Orlando Sentinel (subscriber link). “They make it easy for me to adjust,” Bitadze said. “Whatever coach (Jamahl Mosley) wants me to do, I’m going to go out there and do it.” The fourth-year center is averaging 5.6 PPG and 4.6 RPG (2.0 ORB) in 12.2 MPG through five games with the Magic.

Heat Notes: Martin, Zeller, Love, Haslem

Caleb Martin provided 21 points in 28 minutes off the bench in the Heat‘s victory over Atlanta on Monday. Martin has been a solid contributor all season and his teammates appreciate his hard work, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports.

“Caleb has been probably the bright spot on our team,” center Bam Adebayo said. “Through the ups and downs, he’s always been consistent. And he’s one of those guys that you can always rely on. He’s going to play hard. He’s going to try to make the right plays.”

Martin is in the first year of a three-year, $20.4MM contract that includes a player option in 2024/25.

We have more on the Heat:

  • Cody Zeller has played seven games since joining the Heat as the backup center last month. Zeller, who was out of the league until Miami picked him up, feels comfortable playing limited minutes, Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald writes. “I’m still feeling a little rusty with some of my reads and stuff. But overall, I’ve been pretty pleased with where I’m at. I’m still only playing 15 minutes per game. It’s shorter minutes, so I should be able to play even harder. So yeah, it’s been good so far.”
  • Kevin Love missed Monday’s game with a rib contusion but X-rays were negative, Chiang tweets. It’s not considered to be a long-term issue. Love is averaging 7.5 points and 7.3 rebounds in six starts since signing with the club.
  • The team has planned a variety of tributes for forward Udonis Haslem, who is retiring after the season. Haslem told Chiang he hopes the Heat can make another playoff run but he won’t have any regrets, regardless of how the season plays out. “I’m done,” Haslem said. “I’m done no matter what happens. I gave my contribution. I think at this stage, there needs to be another voice for these guys. It’s time for somebody to step up and be the voice.”

Southeast Notes: Hawks, Ressler, Wagner, Martin, Heat

As we outlined on Friday, Hawks owner Tony Ressler conducted a series of media interviews this week to discuss the team’s recent front office and head coaching changes. We passed along a few highlights from his discussions with ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Lauren Williams of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, but Ressler also spoke on Friday to Jeff Schultz of The Athletic, who pushed him a little harder on the role that his son Nick Ressler has within the Hawks’ front office.

Reporting from The Athletic earlier this year suggested that Nick Ressler – Atlanta’s director of business and basketball operations – had gained “increasing influence” in the Hawks’ front office and that not everyone was comfortable with that. Pressed on the issue by Schultz, Tony Ressler pushed back on the notion that his son has an outsized voice in decision-making and that other executives aren’t happy with Nick’s role.

“Who? Do they still work here?” the Hawks’ owner responded when Schultz said The Athletic had spoken to people who were uncomfortable with his son’s level of influence. “Look, the idea that you’re using former employees for a narrative that is untrue. The simple answer is we have a front office today that works beautifully, where Nick is one of many voices and frankly an unbelievably positive and supportive voice. And if you ask anyone who works here they would tell you yes.

“… We have a fairly large basketball ops that values a whole bunch of voices and Nick’s one of them. … What he is is a great kid who works his ass off and is one of the many voices that feed into (assistant GM) Kyle (Korver) and (GM) Landry (Fields).

“Am I partial? Maybe. But if I didn’t think he was a positive influence to this franchise, he wouldn’t be here. … It’s very important to me that perception is similar to reality. When you say I give a disproportionate amount of influence to my son, that’s just a f—ing lie, because I would be running a lesser business than I’m capable of.”

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • The Magic lost their second-leading scorer on Friday, as Franz Wagner left the game in Charlotte early due to a left ankle sprain. According to Khobi Price of The Orlando Sentinel, X-rays on the ankle were negative, which is good news, but Wagner still may have to miss some time as a result of the injury.
  • Kevin Love has started all five games since he arrived in Miami, but the Heat have lost four of those games and the new starting five of Love, Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, Tyler Herro, and Gabe Vincent has a net rating of minus-9.4 so far. As Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald writes, that same group with former starter Caleb Martin in Love’s place has a plus-18.6 net rating this season. For his part, Martin is still getting used to his new bench role. “It’s a little different, man,” he said on Friday. “… It’s just adjusting to whatever is going on. It’s also more of a role of gassing yourself out, being that spark coming off the bench as opposed to maintaining.”
  • The much-vaunted Heat culture is being tested by the team’s inconsistent performances as of late, with Butler suggesting after Friday’s loss to New York that Miami needs to play with more urgency. “We really get bored with the process and I can’t tell you why. We play hard and sometimes we get back in the game like we did tonight and sometimes we don’t,” Butler said, according to Chiang. “But either way it goes, if we just play basketball the right way the entire game, I don’t think we’re in this situation more often than not. But for some odd reason, we think it’s going to be easy so we just go out there and go through the motions.”

Heat Notes: Love, Martin, Crowder, Tucker

Kevin Love‘s first game with the Heat was forgettable, but there’s reason to believe things will get better, writes Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. “We have to just throw that one away,” Love said after going scoreless in a 29-point loss at Milwaukee. However, Jackson points out that the night wasn’t a complete disaster for the veteran big man. He had eight rebounds and four assists and seemed to mesh well with his new teammates after going through just one practice.

Jackson notes that Bam Adebayo tends to excel when he’s paired with tall power forwards who can shoot, which hasn’t been the case for nearly two years. The most prominent examples are Kelly Olynyk and Meyers Leonard, who are both similar to Love in what they can do on the court.

“The biggest thing for me is passing, starting that fastbreak, closing possessions on the defensive end, using my shooting ability to help this team,” Love said. “… Nobody has to cater to me. I want to make the game easier for these guys.”

There’s more on the Heat:

  • Love’s addition means Caleb Martin is back on the bench after making 49 starts this season, Jackson adds. Martin, who was primarily a reserve during his first three NBA seasons, said he’s willing to accept whatever role coach Erik Spoelstra believes is best. “I prepared myself for something like that to happen,” Martin said. “It’s Spo’s job to figure out the best lineups, how guys fit in. He knows I’m one of those guys that’s willing to do what I’ve got to do.”
  • New Bucks forward Jae Crowder had Miami on his list of preferred destinations during his long holdout in Phoenix, Jackson tweets. Crowder, who made his season debut Friday night, played for the Heat when they reached the NBA Finals in 2020.
  • Because of an oddity in the schedule, the Heat won’t get their first look at P.J. Tucker until Monday night, notes Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. The defensive specialist played an important role in helping Miami post the best record in the Eastern Conference last season, but he hasn’t fit in as well with the Sixers. “Tuck always figures it out,” Spoelstra said. “I mean if you’re going to judge him by that last line in the box score, you are just really mistaken of how he can impact winning. Tuck does all those little, intangible things that really impact winning, that most people don’t really recognize.”

Heat Notes: Love, Martin, Lowry, Yurtseven

New addition Kevin Love got the surprise start at power forward on Friday night for the Heat, tweets Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel. That moves Caleb Martin to the bench for the first time in 2022/23, Winderman adds (via Twitter).

Head coach Erik Spoelstra said it was a bit surprising that Love was available and a called the decision to sign him a “no-brainer,” Winderman writes in a story for The Sun Sentinel.

First you go through the trade deadline and see if there was anything that makes sense, and there really wasn’t.” Spoelstra said. “And then you’re just hopeful, you’re not really sure of who’s going to get bought out. And you hear rumors. This one was a little bit of a surprise. And then when Kevin became available or at least there was possible discussion about it, everybody was all in on it. It was a no-brainer. The fit just makes a lot of sense for all of us.”

Part of the reason I’m surprised that Love got the starting nod is that Martin has been solid this season, averaging 10.1 PPG, 5.2 RPG and 1.0 SPG on .454/.361/.764 shooting in 49 games (30.3 MPG). The other reason I’m surprised is that Love had been out of Cleveland’s rotation for the final 12 games leading into the All-Star break, which is reportedly why he wanted a buyout — this is his first appearance in a month.

Here’s more from Miami:

  • The team’s other recent addition, center Cody Zeller, was the first reserve to enter for the Heat in Friday’s contest, notes Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald (via Twitter). Zeller spent his first eight seasons in Charlotte, but played for Portland in ’21/22.
  • Point guard Kyle Lowry, who has been dealing with knee soreness, isn’t traveling with the team this weekend, but there’s a chance he could rejoin the team in Philadelphia on Monday, per Winderman (Twitter link).
  • According to Jackson, the Heat are weighing the possibility of using Lowry off the bench when he returns, though that decision also depends on how well Gabe Vincent and the Heat perform in his absence. Lowry heard his name pop up in trade rumors, but no deal was made. Jackson writes that Lowry and the Heat are on good terms and they’re confident on his knee prognosis, which played a factor in Miami adding two frontcourt players and not another ball-handler.
  • The plan is for Omer Yurtseven to play with Miami’s G League affiliate, the Sioux Falls Skyforce, in about a week, per Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald (subscriber link). Yurtseven is ramping up for his season debut following ankle surgery. “It’s going to be South Dakota, play in Sioux Falls for a bit and then feel good and move on,” Yurtseven said. “Step by step.”

Heat Notes: Standing Pat, Lowry, Butler, Yurtseven, Westbrook

There are numerous factors why the Heat have not added a veteran player via trade or free agency for nearly eight months, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald.

Topping the list for the Heat’s lack of activity is that all of their available trade assets, except for Caleb Martin, either regressed, stagnated, or got injured. Other factors include a lack of mid-range salaries to include in potential trades, and that fact that no All-Stars on other teams lobbied for a trade to Miami.

We have more on the Heat:

  • They were unable to move Kyle Lowry‘s salary before the trade deadline and there’s concern how well the veteran point guard can move physically the rest of the season, Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald reports. Lowry has been dealing with left knee soreness and he could be sidelined for several weeks as he continues to receive treatment. He hasn’t played since Feb. 2.
  • Jimmy Butler played this weekend in both games of a back-to-back for the first time since late October, Chiang notes. However, Nikola Jovic (lower back stress reaction), Victor Oladipo (right ankle sprain), Duncan Robinson (finger surgery) and Omer Yurtseven (left ankle surgery), as well as Lowry, remained sidelined. Coach Erik Spoelstra said that, among the injured players, only Oladipo has a chance to play before the All-Star break.
  • Yurtseven will be a free agent after the season and the team hopes he’ll provide a late-season boost, much like Oladipo did last season, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel writes. Yurtseven, who underwent ankle surgery in November, has been cleared for high-impact work. “I just like the progress,” Spoelstra said of Yurtseven. “Things in our center position are trending in a much better direction, for sure.”
  • The Heat have internally discussed adding Russell Westbrook in he chooses to take a buyout from the Jazz, according to Jackson. Westbrook may not make a decision about whether to go the buyout route until the All-Star break.

Heat Notes: Lowry, D. Robinson, Crowder, Oladipo

Kyle Lowry‘s second season with the Heat isn’t turning out the way he hoped, but the veteran guard doesn’t want to be anywhere else, writes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. Lowry’s shooting percentages have declined since last season, and he’s been involved in fewer offensive possessions than at any time in the past 15 years.

Lowry has posted four single-digit scoring outings in the last two weeks and he hasn’t played at all in the fourth quarter of some close games. He has been mentioned in some recent trade talk, but the market appears limited for a 36-year-old guard with another year left on his contract at $29.7MM.

“I’ve been in trade rumors before,” Lowry said. “I have a very nice contract that can be moved. The organization believes in me and I’m glad to be here. “I want to stay. I enjoy this place. I picked this place. I feel we have a chance to always compete for a title. With Jimmy (Butler), Bam (Adebayo), Tyler (Herro) and (Erik Spoelstra) as a coach we always have an opportunity.”

There’s more on the Heat:

  • Duncan Robinson, who’s recovering from finger surgery, and Nikola Jovic, who’s dealing with a back issue, are both nearing their dates for reevaluation, Chiang notes in a separate story. Both players remained in Miami for the current four-game road trip, along with Omer Yurtseven, who is weeks away from a return after ankle surgery. Spoelstra said he considered bringing Robinson along, but he can get more rehab work done at the team facility. “Duncan was really pushing to get on this trip,” Spoelstra said. “We thought about it, because the fellowship is important. But the work that he’s able to do in our facility consistently trumps that and I think it will speed up the process for them to get to that next step, most of all, which we all want.”
  • Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald teams with Chiang to examine the Heat’s trade assets heading into next week’s deadline. A Western Conference source tells them that Miami still has interest in acquiring Jae Crowder from the Suns, but Phoenix hasn’t been impressed with its offers so far and other teams appear to be in better position to make a deal for Crowder. Robinson has been offered to the Suns, according to Jackson and Chiang, but Miami has shown “no inclination” to put Caleb Martin on the table for Crowder.
  • Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel also evaluates Miami’s trade potential and says the team faces a challenging decision on Victor Oladipo, who has outplayed his current $8.8MM salary and seems likely to turn down his $9.5MM player option for 2023/24.

Several Contenders Pursuing Malik Beasley

Malik Beasley is a popular target heading into this year’s trade deadline, with several contenders expected to make a play for the Jazz guard, writes Sean Deveney of Heavy.

The desire around the league for more shooting, combined with a shortage of sellers, could produce an “overheated” market for Beasley, an Eastern Conference executive tells Deveney. The 26-year-old is averaging 13.7 PPG for Utah while connecting at 39.9% from the field and 35.8% from three-point range. His contract is relatively affordable, with a $16.5MM team option for 2023/24.

“It is a thin market,” the executive said. “You are going to have to overpay because there are not a ton of guys you can go out and get. … A lot of playoff teams are trying to figure out what it is going to take to get him.”

The Jazz are asking for a first-round pick in return for Beasley, along with a young player and whatever it takes to match salaries, according to Deveney, who hears that Utah is willing to take on salary beyond this season if it believes the players if acquires can eventually be moved for another first-rounder.

Deveney cites the Heat as among the top contenders for Beasley, possibly as part of a larger deal that would also bring Kelly Olynyk back to Miami for a package that includes Duncan Robinson and Caleb Martin along with picks and other young players. Miami prefers to hold onto 2022 first-round pick Nikola Jovic, according to Deveney, who believes that stance could change as the deadline nears.

Deveney also mentions the Cavaliers in a rumor first floated last week by Marc Stein. The proposed three-team deal would send Beasley to Cleveland, Caris LeVert‘s expiring contract to the Hawks and John Collins to Utah.

The Bucks and Nets are also interested in Beasley, Deveney adds, but both teams are limited in the draft assets they can offer. Milwaukee doesn’t have a first-round pick to trade until 2029, while Brooklyn would like to deal Seth Curry or Joe Harris for Beasley, but can’t trade a first-rounder until 2028.

The Celtics, who nearly traded for Beasley last season before acquiring Derrick White, probably won’t be involved in the pursuit this year, Deveney states. He expects them to seek a less expensive wing if they’re active in the market at all, possibly offering Danilo Gallinari and Payton Pritchard in return.

Deveney identifies the Pelicans and Warriors as “dark horses” in the Beasley chase, with New Orleans having the combination of draft capital, young players and salary fillers that Utah is seeking, and Golden State able to get involved if management decides to part with either James Wiseman, Jonathan Kuminga or Moses Moody.

Heat Notes: Trade Targets, Crowder, Collins, Lowry, Oladipo

The Heat are very active on the trade market, Sean Deveney of reports. An obvious area to upgrade would be power forward, with the Hawks’ John Collins a potential target. However, there’s concern within the organization that Collins may not be a great fit alongside Bam Adebayo due to his perimeter shooting issues.

The Suns rejected an offer of Duncan Robinson for Jae Crowder, but Caleb Martin could be substituted for Robinson with center Dewayne Dedmon tossed in to make the salaries work and keep Miami under the luxury tax, Deveney adds.

We have more on the Heat:

  • There are plenty of other potential trade options for a power forward but the Heat may have to include an asset or two they don’t want to give up, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald notes. They’d certainly be willing to move Robinson’s contract and Dedmon. They may also have to add Martin or Nikola Jovic into the package, as well one or two protected first-round picks, to get an impact player at that spot.
  • While a Kyle Lowry trade can’t be ruled out, the Heat aren’t actively looking to move him, Jackson adds in the same story.
  • After hovering around the .500 mark most of the season, the Heat are a season-best four games over .500. Better health has been a factor and Udonis Haslem believes the team can go on a run, he told Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald. “We’ve been right there. So many games coming down to the last shot even with a decimated roster,” the veteran big man said. “So sometimes you got to look within the lesson. The lesson is, I think, once we get healthy, we’re building some good habits and we’ll be able to put something together here. You look at how Boston started their first half of the season last year and it was similar. So if we get healthy, I think we’re still capable of putting something together here.”
  • Considering his past injury issues, Victor Oladipo is surprised he’s logged 30-plus minutes in eight of his last 10 games, he told Chiang. “A little bit, I can’t lie,” Oladipo said of playing extended minutes this season. “But sitting back and really reflecting, you see how much work I put in and how much I invest in my body. So it’s no surprise that I’m still feeling good, and I’m going to continue to keep feeling better as the year goes on.” Oladipo only played 25 minutes in a lopsided win over New Orleans on Wednesday.

Southeast Notes: Robinson, Dedmon, Lowry, Clifford, Krejci

Two-way player Orlando Robinson may have passed Dewayne Dedmon on the depth chart as the Heat‘s backup center. Robinson finished Sunday’s one-point loss to Brooklyn with six points, nine rebounds and two assists in 20 minutes, while Dedmon didn’t play due to coach’s decision for the first time this season. The Heat outscored the Nets by 24 points with Robinson on the court, Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald notes.

“I thought he just gave us great minutes,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “Even when we had to take (Bam Adebayo) out in the fourth quarter, that could have been an emotional downer, like a real buzz kill. But O had been playing really well and when I turned to him, everybody else was like: ‘Yeah, let’s do this.’ He’s earned the minutes and I think the way he was really sprinting to the rim on some of the pick-and-rolls and creating a little bit of confusion, really helped us generate some clean looks.”

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • Heat guard Kyle Lowry has been downgraded to out for Tuesday’s game against the Thunder, Chiang tweets. The Heat have a number of injury concerns. Rotation players Caleb Martin (left quadriceps strain) and Duncan Robinson (finger surgery) have also been ruled out, while Tyler Herro (left Achilles soreness) and Adebayo (right wrist contusion) are questionable.
  • Steve Clifford returned for a second stint as the Hornets’ head coach to take them to the next level. The way the season has played out, he now has the task of developing the young players during a rough season. Clifford spoke of trying to strike that balance in a Q&A with Roderick Boone of the Charlotte Observer in a subscriber-required story. “We need to win and develop these young guys. And definitely this is really a different roster than what we thought it would be, particularly when I first got here,” Clifford said. “But at the end of the day being adaptable as a coach is a big deal, and you want to be the right coach for the team that you are coaching.”
  • Vit Krejci had his contract for this season guaranteed by the Hawks over the weekend when he remained on the roster. Krejci is grateful the front office decided to keep him around, as he told Lauren Williams of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Yeah, it’s a good feeling,” Krejci said. “You know, I worked really hard to be in this position. And I’m glad that the team trusts me and the coaches and the staff, everybody trusts me. So, I’m really happy for that.” Krejci has appeared in 17 games this season.