If Caleb Martin doesn’t start at power forward, who will?


The 2022 NBA Free Agency moratorium was lifted Wednesday at 12:00 p.m. It also allowed restricted free agents to sign offer sheets with their old or new teams, though the latter creates a 48-hour window for their old team to match.

About 30 minutes after the moratorium was lifted, the Miami Heat signed restricted free agent Caleb Martin to a three-year, $20.5 million contract. He used his mid-tier taxpayer exception, which started at $6.5 million in 2022-23, to complete the deal and avoid triggering the cap.

However, the Heat still reside in a precarious position at power forward.


Martin and rookie Nikola Jovic are the only two 4s on the list; PJ Tucker signed with the Philadelphia 76ers earlier in the offseason, while Markieff Morris is still teamless in unrestricted free agency. Jovic doesn’t have much experience at 4 either.

With trade rumors surrounding Kevin Durant and, to a lesser extent, Donovan Mitchell and Kyrie Irving, the free-agent market has all but frozen as teams await the results of where they will end up.

Pat Riley is likely to make another move for a power forward, via free agency or the trade market, to position Martin as a spark plug off the bench. But the market is not big, now that TPMLE has been used.

The most optimal route to completing your initial five has always been through the trade market, but for whom and at what cost? Ultimately, we won’t know until the dominoes start falling, which could take a while.

Therefore, Martin is Miami’s de facto starter 4. But assuming he isn’t that player in October, who is or will be then? With free agency almost a week away, let’s dive into some candidates!

Internal Options:

Here are some candidates currently on the list, though there aren’t many!

Nicholas Jović:

Thin: Okay, I know what you’re thinking. He’s an option, but he’s probably one of Miami’s last resorts. I highly doubt they’ll throw a rookie into the starting lineup unless the market goes completely against him. Head coach Erik Spoelstra would (probably) start Martin before Jovic, so he’s ruled out this option.

Haywood Blacksmith:

Thin: See Jovic. I include it because it is an option because it is on the list; although it is not realistic.

Jimmy Butler:

Thin: Could Butler start at 4 with three other shooters/shooters spreading the floor around him and Adebayo? It was effective last season: Miami sported a 7.6+ NET rating (89th percentile) in the regular season, scoring 119.7 points per 100 possessions with a 55.0 effective field goal percentage, according to Crystal Clean. In the postseason, he was a plus-4.1 in 537 possessions. The success of the lineup will depend on who surrounds the Butler-Adebayo frontcourt, although I don’t expect this to be the first resort in the regular season with Miami’s lack of defense at the point of attack and, more importantly, Butler’s age and height. .

Bam Adebayo:

Thin: Whether alongside Omer Yurtseven or Dewayne Dedmon, Adebayo could start at 4 alongside a bigger body. I don’t think that’s the route Miami takes unless it’s for a floor spacer above the break that’s good at the baseline. That could be, say, Myles Turner, but, again, that includes a trade. And Adebayo in the 4 next to Yurtseven or Dedmon has not given good results. I’ve been open to Miami getting bigger, so that’s a thought! I just don’t think it’s likely.

Possible free agents:

If Miami wants to sign free agents, it’s probably only for the minimum to avoid the cap. It is important to take that into consideration. Who are some options?

LaMarcus Aldridge:

Thin: Miami has had an interest in Aldridge at various points in his career, but hasn’t quite nailed it yet. Could they circle back to Aldridge one more time?

Carmel Anthony:

Thin: Melo to Miami? Is that a real possibility? He’s started more than five games just once in the last four seasons and I doubt he’ll break that trend in Miami. Though Anthony could provide a fascinating scoring hit off the bench; the only concern for the 38-year-old is defending him. That’s right.

Markieff Morris:

Thin: Could Morris return to Miami? He is not outside the realm of possibility, especially at the very least. He averaged 7.6 points, 2.6 rebounds on 47.4 percent shooting last season; his season was limited to 17 games due to the Nikola Jokic incident and he never had much of a chance to make his mark in the rotation. He is my favorite option on this list.

Eric Pascual:

Thin: He’s the only free agent I have here from Tucker’s original replacement list. This is what I said before:

Paschall is the clear wild card on this list. He only played 58 games with the utah jazz a year ago, averaging 5.8 points and 1.8 rebounds per game. His counting stats have sunk due to his diminishing role, but he posted a best true shooting efficiency of 61.2 a year ago and was a good rotation player for Golden State from 2019-21.

Paschall is also close with Donovan Mitchell: could they meet at 305 if the situation arises? **Shrug** We’ll see what happens.

Trading Options:

john collins, atlanta falcons

Thin: This is what I originally wrote about Collins:

Collins has been on the trading block for what feels like several years now, and Miami would be a good fit for the 24-year-old. He has expanded his game year after year and has improved as a defender, averaging 16.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 1.0 blocks in 52.6 / 36.4 / 79.3 shooting splits. Collins has four years and $102 million left on his contract, so he’d like to take Duncan Robinson, picks and maybe another asset to nab Collins. But he would be a good fit alongside Adebayo in the long run.

Harrison Barnes, kings of sacrament

Thin: Another candidate previously on the list. This is what I originally wrote about Barnes:

Barnes might be the best replacement for PJ Tucker. Sacramento drafted Keegan Murray No. 4 overall and the 30-year-old Barnes will be in the final year of his contract at $18.4 million, meaning his time in Sacramento could be coming to an end. Barnes is an efficient shooter and floor spacer, but he can also get opposing guards/wingers out of the dribble and is an underrated playmaker. His defense has sunk slightly, but is still sustainable.

Jay Crowder, phoenix suns

Thin: Rumors of Crowder meeting in Miami have waxed and waned in recent days. Durant aside, he’s the biggest of the bigwigs, he’s probably the next best thing behind Collins or Barnes, though I wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up in South Beach. While he’s not that hot, he’s a good fit and he’s only on the books for $10 million this year about to expire.

MY prediction based on nothing at all: collins or barnes