Caleb Martin

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.”

Heat Notes: Wright, Offseason Decisions, Butler, Draft

The Heat’s season ended in an appropriate way Wednesday night — with another new starting lineup. Injuries have forced coach Erik Spoelstra to juggle his rotations since training camp, and he unveiled his 37th starting unit in Game 5 at Boston, writes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald.

Rookie Jaime Jaquez was unavailable because of a hip injury he suffered in Game 4 and Spoelstra didn’t want to start Duncan Robinson, who has been limited by a back condition since late in the regular season, so veteran guard Delon Wright made the first playoff start of his career. Wright provided eight points, three rebounds, two assists and two steals in 33 minutes, but he had to leave the game briefly to get stitches in his lower lip and chin after being hit by an elbow.

In addition to Jaquez, Miami was without Jimmy Butler, Terry Rozier and Josh Richardson, who all missed the entire series due to injuries. However, Spoelstra refused to use that as an excuse, Chiang tweets.

“We’re not going to put this on the fact that we had some injuries,” Spoelstra said. “Let’s not take anything away from Boston. They’ve been the best team in basketball all season long.”

There’s more on the Heat:

  • The early playoff exit leaves the franchise with a long offseason and a lot of financial decisions ahead, Chiang adds. Part of the future will be determined by player options held by Caleb Martin ($7.1MM), Kevin Love ($4MM), Richardson ($3.1MM) and Thomas Bryant ($2.8MM). Orlando Robinson has a non-guaranteed $2.1MM contract for next season, while Wright, Haywood Highsmith and Patty Mills are all headed for unrestricted free agency.
  • Miami faces a difficult decision on Jimmy Butler, who will become extension-eligible this summer, Bobby Marks of ESPN notes in his offseason preview for the Heat. Butler will make $48.8MM next season and holds a $52.4MM player option for 2025/26. Beginning July 7, he can sign a one-year extension worth $58.6MM, which would retain his ’25/26 salary, or a two-year, $112.9MM extension that would void the player option. Marks points out that Butler will turn 35 during the offseason and hasn’t topped 65 games in any of the last four years.
  • Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald examines the Heat’s options in this year’s draft. Players who could still be on the board when Miami picks at No. 15 include Purdue center Zach Edey, Duke power forward/center Kyle Filipowski, Providence guard Devin Carter, Colorado forward Tristan Da Silva, Duke point guard Jared McCain, Baylor center Yves Missi, Kansas small forward Kevin McCullar Jr., Baylor swingman Ja’Kobe Walter, USC point guard Isaiah Collier and Illinois shooting guard Terrence Shannon Jr.

Heat Notes: Butler, Rozier, Love, Martin, Wright

The Heat are trying not to focus on being shorthanded as they look for a way to upset the top-seeded Celtics, writes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. An already difficult task is being made even harder by the absence of starters Jimmy Butler, who sprained his MCL during a play-in game, and Terry Rozier, who has been sidelined with neck issues. In addition, Duncan Robinson has been limited by a lingering back injury he suffered late in the season.

“We have our guys, we have enough to get the job done,” coach Erik Spoelstra insisted after a 20-point loss in Game 3. “We understand the challenge and that’s what our competitors love about this series. We know we have to play hard and we also have to play well.”

Butler and Rozier have already been ruled out for tonight’s Game 4. Spoelstra told reporters on Sunday that Rozier is considered “day to day,” but no timetable has been set for his return. Butler was projected to miss “several weeks” after getting hurt on April 17, but he sounded optimistic in an interview with TNT’s Chris Haynes during Saturday’s game.

“I don’t know about a timeline, but we’ve been working,” Butler said. “I want to hoop. I want to get out here. I want some of this.”

There’s more from Miami:

  • Spoelstra appears to be pivoting away from Kevin Love, who is facing a bad matchup against Boston, Chiang adds. The veteran big man, who was limited to one four-minute stretch in Game 3, is minus-24 in his 23 minutes of action in the series. “I was looking for a spark once we were down 20,” Spoelstra said in explaining the decision to bench Love. “This is not an indictment on anybody. Things move fast in a playoff series.”
  • Caleb Martin plans to “just be assertive and not be passive” tonight after he followed a 21-point Game 2 with five points on four shots in Game 3, Chiang states in a separate story. Martin, who starred against Boston in last year’s conference finals, said he needs to look to score more often. “I think there were sometimes I passed up shots,” he said. “I felt like I was trying to get the ball moving a little bit more, being a little bit less aggressive in letting it go. So that’s on me. I can’t be as passive. I got to let the ball go.”
  • Delon Wright, who missed Game 3 for the birth of a baby girl, has returned to the team and will be on the active roster tonight, tweets Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press.

Heat Notes: Martin, Highsmith, Shooting, Adjustments, Butler

Last postseason, Max Strus and Gabe Vincent helped propel the Heat to a Finals appearance and priced themselves out of the team’s range in the offseason. Strus went on to sign a four-year, $62.3MM contract in a sign-and-trade with Cleveland while Vincent departed for the Lakers on a three-year, $33MM deal.

A similar situation may be happening this year with Caleb Martin and Haywood Highsmith, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. Martin was instrumental in the Heat’s Eastern Conference Finals win over Boston last year, averaging 19.3 points per game and shooting 48.9% from three in that seven-game series. He had an up-and-down regular season in 2023/24 but just scored 21 points while making five threes against the Celtics in Game 2 of their current series.

Highsmith had a career year with Miami, averaging 6.1 PPG while shooting 39.6% on three-pointers and emerging as a key rotation player in 26 starts. He had nine points, three rebounds and one steal on Wednesday against Boston while continuing to display his impressive defense.

Martin has a player option for next season at $7.1MM that he’s likely to decline, while Highsmith will be an unrestricted free agent. As Jackson observes, the Heat project to have a payroll of $172.9MM next year if Kevin Love, Josh Richardson and Thomas Bryant pick up their small player options, which is expected, and if Martin opts out.

Jackson notes that while the Heat own the Bird rights for both players, re-signing both, or either, would put them over or extremely close to the restrictive second tax apron. Miami might be able to re-sign Highsmith without going over the second apron, but that’s a less likely scenario with Martin, who is expected to demand at least the full projected $12.8MM non-taxpayer mid-level exception, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks. Marks expects Highsmith to get between $8-10MM annually.

Miami didn’t offer Strus a contract last year but offered Vincent a four-year, $34MM deal before he signed with L.A.

We have more notes on the Heat:

  • The Heat shocked the Celtics in Game 2 on Boston’s home floor (where they lost just four games in the regular season) behind a historic three-point shooting display, Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald writes. Miami, without Jimmy Butler and Terry Rozier, bounced back from a 20-point loss in Game 1 to defeat the Celtics and steal home court advantage by evening the series 1-1. The Heat set a franchise record for threes in a playoff game by connecting on 23 of their 43 attempts. It is tied for the second-most three-pointers Miami has ever made in a game in franchise history. “It was a very good response just from the connectivity, the efforts, all of that,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. As observed by’s Couper Moorhead (Twitter link), Miami now has four playoff games in the past two seasons with 50% shooting from three, all of which came against Boston. No other team has more than one such game against any opponent.
  • Spoelstra made it a point of emphasis to get better looks and a higher volume of shots from beyond the arc after the Heat were out-shot 22-12 from deep in Game 1, ESPN’s Chris Herring points out. By beating Boston in Game 2, Miami became the first playoff team in the past 30 years to win by double-digits after being an underdog of 14 points or more.
  • As Herring details, the Heat made it an emphasis to get Tyler Herro involved as a play-maker — he had 14 assists — and to limit Kristaps Porzingis, who finished with six points on 1-of-9 shooting. “We’ve been doubted a lot through our playoff runs, people saying we couldn’t do a lot of stuff that we did,Bam Adebayo said. “So for me and my team, why lose belief now? Our backs are against the wall. Everybody’s against us. So just use that as fuel.
  • Despite the expectation that he’ll miss multiple weeks with his MCL injury, Butler is staying involved in the Heat’s postseason. In an Instagram post, he poked fun at the Celtics after Miami took Game 2. As Ira Winderman of South Florida’s Sun Sentinel writes, Butler has been involved in other ways too, and sent teammate Herro a more serious message ahead of Game 1. “Just before the series, [Butler] texted me to take the team and lead these guys, just make every right play,” Herro said.

Southeast Notes: Adebayo, Martin, Redick, Hornets, Magic, Suggs

While Bam Adebayo is probably a long shot to be named the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year for this season, the Heat big man is one of the finalists for the first time in his career, writes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. Prior to this spring, Adebayo had never finished higher than fourth in Defensive Player of the Year voting.

“They’re actually watching games, they’re actually looking at games,” Adebayo said of the award voters. “They’re paying attention to what I do. It’s not only what shows up in the stat book.”

As Chiang writes, Adebayo blocked just 0.9 shots per game in 2023/24, well below the averages posted by fellow finalists Rudy Gobert and Victor Wembanyama. However, he’s capable of guarding positions all over the court and has adapted his game to new personnel and new coverages with players in and out of Miami’s lineup all season long due to injuries.

“Man, I can play in any coverage,” Adebayo said. “That’s pretty much the dynamic that I have. I can play any coverage. If you want to be in drop, we can play drop. If you want me in zone, we can play zone. Blitz, switching, being able to be on the one or two option, being able to be the help guy. I’ve been in many different roles throughout my career.”

“What it shows you is that he’s becoming a defensive technician,” Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra said of his defensive anchor. “That’s a different level of expertise.”

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • As Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel relays, Spoelstra and the Heat downplayed the outside reactions that Caleb Martin‘s hard foul on Jayson Tatum in Game 1 of their series elicited, particularly from Celtics analyst Brian Scalabrine, who called it a “dirty play” that warranted a suspension. “It was an irrational assessment in our view in what actually happened,” Spoelstra said. “The players are fine. All the outside noise or anything like that is not going to decide this series or the game. This is good, clean, tough, physical playoff basketball — and it always has been with Boston and us.”
  • ESPN analyst and former NBA sharpshooter J.J. Redick is a “serious candidate” for the Hornets‘ head coaching job, Shams Charania of The Athletic said on FanDuel’s Run it Back show (Twitter video link). According to Charania, Redick has a “strong desire” to move into coaching and could end up interviewing for more jobs besides Charlotte’s this spring.
  • While the Magic‘s long-term outlook remains very promising, the weaknesses of their young roster have been exposed in the first two playoff games against Cleveland, according to Josh Robbins of The Athletic, who cites inexperience and a lack of shooting and play-making as shortcomings for Orlando. “Our defense is what we thought it was, but it ain’t going to win us a game,” Paolo Banchero said. “We’ve got to be better on the other end.”
  • Magic guard Jalen Suggs is “doing better” after suffering a left knee injury in Game 2, per head coach Jamahl Mosley, who told reporters today that he expects Suggs to be available for Game 3 (Twitter link via Jason Beede of The Orlando Sentinel).

Heat Notes: Play-In, Rotation, Jaquez, Butler, Martin

The Heat are facing a “make-or-break” week if they want to avoid the play-in tournament, per Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. As Chiang writes, the Heat have gone just 17-24 this season against teams with winning records, and they face four such opponents this week: New York, Philadelphia, Houston and Indiana.

It will be the best to simulate how the playoffs are going to be,” guard Terry Rozier said. “This is a great four-game stretch, but we got to take it one game at a time. The Knicks we play next, we got to worry about that one and get that one at home and protect home court.”

How Miami fares this week will have a direct impact on competitive playoff races in both conferences, Chiang observes. The No. 7 Heat are currently sandwiched between the No. 6 Pacers and No. 8 Sixers in the East’s standings. If the Heat win those two games, they’ll also clinch the head-to-head tiebreakers over both clubs, but Indiana would hold the tiebreaker if it beats Miami on Sunday (if Philadelphia defeats Miami, the tiebreaker would likely be determined by conference record, Chiang notes).

Here are a few more notes out of Miami:

  • With Duncan Robinson and Kevin Love back from injuries, head coach Erik Spoelstra said the Heat’s rotation will likely be fluid as the postseason nears, Chiang adds in another story for The Miami Herald. “Here’s what the rotation is: whatever it takes,” Spoelstra said. “That’s where we are. We made this bed, where we are right now. Because of all the moving parts, everybody right now, it’s easy. You just be ready for your minutes, contribute in a positive way and help impact winning. That’s all it’s about right now. Everybody has signed up for that, everybody is bought into that.”
  • The “biggest challenge” of Jaime Jaquez‘s rookie campaign has been the NBA’s 82-game schedule, he told Chiang. While he’s having a very strong season overall, Jaquez’s production has dipped over the past few months, in part because he has been double-teamed at times when he catches the ball in the mid-post, according to Chiang. “I take it as a sign of respect,” said Jaquez, who was taken by the Heat with the 18th overall pick in last year’s draft following a four-year college career at UCLA. “Guys got to worry about me now. That’s what you want as a player. Now my next step is how do I adjust to the new coverages that I see and how I can make the right play.”
  • The Heat will need a more aggressive version of Jimmy Butler in order to have a shot at another deep playoff run, says Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel. Over his past four games, Buter is averaging just 8.3 shot attempts and 14.3 points per game, far below his season averages of 13.4 and 21.0, respectively. Still, each of those four games was lopsided, and Butler missed a game last week with an illness, Winderman notes.
  • In a mailbag column, Winderman wonders if Caleb Martin will be given the team’s most challenging defensive assignments in the postseason. Winderman also takes stock of which players might be pushed out of the rotation as the team gets healthier, with Patty Mills and Delon Wright likely to be on the outside looking in.

Injury Notes: Heat, C. Johnson, J. Brown, Warriors

While Tyler Herro (foot) remains sidelined for Sunday’s game vs. Washington and Caleb Martin (ankle) will also be unavailable, the Heat are getting a little healthier overall.

As Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald writes, Kevin Love was available on Friday after missing 14 games due to a heel injury, but he wasn’t needed in a 60-point blowout of Portland, so head coach Erik Spoelstra opted to give him another day off.

Love will be active on Sunday and Duncan Robinson appears to be on track to return from a five-game absence due to a back ailment. According to the team (Twitter link), Robinson has been listed as probable to play vs. the Wizards.

Here are a few more injury-related updates from around the NBA:

  • Nets wing Cameron Johnson, who has missed three straight games due to a sprained left big toe, was upgraded to questionable for the club’s game vs. the Lakers on Sunday, tweets Brian Lewis of The New York Post. It looks like there’s a good chance Johnson will be available for at least one end of Brooklyn’s back-to-back set on Sunday and Monday against L.A. and Indiana, respectively.
  • Celtics star Jaylen Brown said after Saturday’s win in New Orleans that his left hand has been bothering him as of late and that he plans to get it “looked at” when the team returns home after playing in Charlotte on Monday (Twitter link via Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe). Brown hasn’t missed any time as a result of the injury, but this would be the time to give him a game off if it’s needed, since Boston has already clinched the top seed in the East.
  • The Warriors, in the thick of a race for a play-in spot, were missing Jonathan Kuminga (knee) and Klay Thompson (knee) on Friday in Charlotte (Twitter links via Kendra Andrews of ESPN). Both players are considered day-to-day and have been listed as questionable for Sunday’s contest in San Antonio.

Heat Notes: Robinson, Herro, Jovic, Highsmith, Martin, Swider

If the Heat manage to reach the playoffs, they may head into the postseason with at least one starting position unsettled, writes Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. It’s not clear who would start at shooting guard, especially if Duncan Robinson returns from his back issues before Tyler Herro recovers from his foot injury.

Jackson notes that lineups with Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo and Robinson have fared better than those with Butler, Adebayo and Herro, but only slightly. Both Robinson and Herro provide floor spacing, which has been missing from Miami’s offense during their absence.

“You can’t replace a guy like Duncan who shoots from anywhere, and Tyler, who creates his own shot, and the leadership of (Kevin Love),” Adebayo said.

The Heat have tried several options this season at power forward, although Jackson points out that Nikola Jovic has started the last 14 games when he’s been available. However, Haywood Highsmith has been more productive with Butler and Adebayo, and Caleb Martin has also seen significant minutes alongside the two stars. Coach Erik Spoelstra seems to be committed to using Jovic as the starter because of the overall effect he has on the offense.

“The one thing I do know is they both have great skill levels,” Spoelstra said. “And it’s almost inverted with us, when two bigs can handle. They both can pass. They both can make plays. They can both finish at the rim. And they both feel very comfortable just being facilitators.”

There’s more from Miami:

  • Robinson has been ruled out for Sunday’s game with Cleveland, but his back is feeling much better, Jackson states in a separate story. Robinson got a positive report from a back specialist after being sent home early from a road trip on Monday. “Thankful it’s not too serious,” he said. “Big thing is making sure [to] calm it down. It’s flared up right now. I’m trying to play as soon as I possibly can. Itching to be back out there. As soon as I get the clear and OK, I’ll be back out there. Taking a couple days helps a lot. The recovery and treatment has helped as well as other things.”
  • Friday’s game with the Pelicans was much calmer than the teams’ February meeting, which resulted in four ejections and five suspensions, Jackson adds. Spoelstra said before the game that he didn’t expect any bad feelings from the scuffle to carry over. “It’s all behind us,” he said. “This was nothing compared to the ’90s.”
  • Making his 12th appearance of the season on Friday night, two-way small forward Cole Swider went 4-of-6 from three-point range and scored 14 points in 18 minutes. Earlier this week, he told Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel that he’s ready to help fill the need for outside shooting. “This is what a two-way is for, is for moments like this when Duncan’s out, Tyler’s out,” Swider said.

Heat Notes: Martin, Rozier, Herro, Adebayo, Robinson, Mills

Heat forward Caleb Martin understands that his high-energy approach to the game can be most effective in a sixth-man role, writes Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. After a breakout performance in last year’s Eastern Conference Finals, Martin has returned to a reserve spot this year, coming off the bench in 19 of the 52 games he has played. Amid numerous lineup changes due to injuries, coach Erik Spoelstra has tried to keep Martin’s role constant.

“I really don’t care. I really don’t,” Martin said. “Like I said, the biggest thing for me is getting minutes and finishing games. So it ultimately doesn’t matter if you come off the bench. If I’m playing 25, 30 minutes and I’m finishing games, I’m going to be able to produce.”

With a $7.1MM player option for next season, Martin is likely to test free agency this summer, Winderman adds. He’s also dealing with the distraction of a sprained left thumb that will probably need surgery after the season is over. He keeps it taped during games and wears a leather brace when he’s not playing.

“It’s something minor. It’s nothing crazy or I wouldn’t be able to still be playing on it,” Martin said. “So it would be different if it was a different kind of injury. So it’s one of those things that’s a pretty quick fix.”

There’s more from Miami:

  • Spoelstra will likely stagger the minutes between Terry Rozier and Tyler Herro whenever Herro returns from his right foot injury, Winderman states in a separate story. They have similar skills as shot creators, and Winderman notes that it could be valuable to have them on the court together late in close games.
  • Bam Adebayo is looking forward to returning after sitting out Wednesday’s game with a lower back contusion, according to Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. Adebayo is listed as questionable for tonight’s contest with New Orleans, and he expressed hope that he’ll be ready to play. “I sat down and had a conversation with coach,” Adebayo said. “We got guys back, so he told me it was time to take (a night off).”
  • A scan of Duncan Robinson‘s back didn’t reveal any significant issues, league sources tell Chiang. Robinson was diagnosed with left facet syndrome after returning home early from the road trip to see a back specialist, but he’s not believed to be facing a lengthy absence.
  • Patty Mills has made a smooth transition since signing with Miami on March 6, Chiang observes in another piece. Injuries have opened up a rotation role, and the veteran guard has logged double-digit minutes in seven straight games. “The surprising part is how comfortable and quickly that I’ve been able to pick up on some stuff,” Mills said. “Then after that, what can you do to impact the team in a positive way. I think that’s been probably the most surprising part, if anything.”

Heat Notes: Mills, Herro, Love, Schedule, Martin

Patty Mills‘ debut with the Heat on Friday night looked familiar to coach Erik Spoelstra, writes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. Mills provided the jolt of instant offense that Miami was looking for, coming off the bench to score 13 points in 16 minutes while shooting 5-of-7 from the field and 3-of-4 from beyond the arc. It was similar to the performances he used to deliver for the Spurs when they faced Miami in the 2013 and 2014 NBA Finals.

“That was great to see him finally do it in a Heat uniform instead of against us,” Spoelstra said. “We’ve seen that for too many years. You can see why he’s been able to do what he does. He’s ignitable, he’s smart, he’s been in a lot of very good systems so he knows how to fit even though he hasn’t had a practice.”

Mills matched his highest-scoring game of the season, as he was seeing limited playing time with Atlanta before being waived last week. There’s no guarantee that Mills will get regular minutes with the Heat once the roster is healthier, but his new teammates are aware of how he can help them.

“We all know what he can do,” Jimmy Butler said. “We all know what he’s going to bring to this team. I think that he’s a winner. He knows how to play the game of basketball. He has a very, very, very high IQ and he just wants to help in any way that he can.”

There’s more from Miami:

  • Tyler Herro and Kevin Love have already been ruled out for Sunday’s game against Washington, Chiang adds. Herro will sit out his eighth straight game with medial tendinitis in his right foot, while Love will miss his sixth in a row due to a bruised right heel. Chiang notes that Spoelstra has typically alternated between Orlando Robinson and Thomas Bryant at backup center when Love is unavailable, but neither of them played Friday in Oklahoma City as those minutes went to Nikola Jovic.
  • Heat players are cautioning against a letdown as they enter a soft spot in the schedule, Chiang states in a separate story. Locked in a tight race to avoid the play-in tournament, Miami will face 10-win teams in three of its next four games, hosting the Wizards tomorrow and traveling to Detroit for games on March 15 and 17. “Like every other game, with a sense of urgency,” Bam Adebayo responded when asked about the team’s approach. “So for us, it’s just having that same sense of urgency as if we were playing anybody else.”
  • Caleb Martin will likely need surgery this summer for a sprained thumb on his non-shooting hand, but he tells Chiang that he’ll continue to play through the pain for the rest of the season.