NBA: Caleb Martin happy with 76ers’ $32M deal instead of $65M in Miami

NBA: Caleb Martin happy with 76ers’ $32M deal instead of $65M in Miami

CAMDEN, New Jersey — Caleb Martin spurned a lot of money in Miami. Like, a lot, a lot — millions of dollars left on the table when he rejected the Heat’s new contract offer.

So he took a different deal with the Philadelphia 76ers for a chance with a fresh start to chase a championship with Joel Embiid, Tyrese Maxey and Paul George.

Oh, and he signed his NBA contract with no regrets.

So he says.

Martin turned down a deal that would have paid him about $65 million over the next five seasons to stay in Miami and instead signed a four-year deal guaranteed for more than $32 million with the 76ers.

“Just certain things didn’t work,” Martin said Tuesday at the 76ers’ New Jersey complex. “There was a lot of things behind the scenes that went on. Ultimately, there was a lot in making that decision. There’s a lot that contributed to how everything went. But past is past, can’t do nothing about that. I’m looking forward to being here and being a part of Philly and trying to bring everything I can in order to try and win a championship. That’s my main focus now.”

READ: NBA: 76ers add playoff performer Caleb Martin

The 28-year-old Martin averaged 8.5 points over five seasons, including the last three with the Heat. It was in Miami where Martin developed a reputation for raising his game in the playoffs.

He’ll likely fill a starting spot left open in Philly, where the 76ers have revamped their roster after another early postseason exit.

They spent more than $400 million to sign George away from the Clippers and keep Maxey, their homegrown All-Star guard, in the fold for five more years.

Team president Daryl Morey also signed free agents Andre Drummond and Eric Gordon and re-signed Kelly Oubre Jr. The win-now moves for a franchise that hasn’t advanced out of the second round since 2001 are designed to put them in the hunt with NBA champion Boston and put pressure on New York, Indiana and even Milwaukee to at least remain a threat in the East.

George and the Sixers agreed to a $212 million, four-year free agent contract and Maxey agreed in principle to a $204 million, five-year extension with the team.

READ: NBA: 76ers make splash with $400M in contracts for Paul George, Maxey

Martin was undrafted coming out of college after stints at North Carolina State and Nevada. He entered the NBA with almost no guarantees. He had to play in the G League. Charlotte let him go after two seasons.

Martin then became a breakout star of the 2023 playoffs when he pushed the Heat to the NBA Finals.

He could enter 2024 as the starting power forward for a franchise that hasn’t won an NBA title since 1983.

Martin averaged 19.3 points on 60% shooting and scored a playoff-career-high 26 points on Boston’s home floor in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals in 2023. He was solid in the first two rounds that season against No. 1 Milwaukee and No. 5 New York, averaging 10.8 points on nearly 53% shooting.

It’s one reason the 76ers and Heat both wanted him on their rosters, even if the final call to come to Philly came at a steep price for Martin — and a nice discount for the Sixers.

“I mean, you’re always going to wish you can make as much money as you can,” Martin said. “It’s part of the game, it’s part of life. You live and learn. You take risks. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.”

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