76ers add free-agent postseason star Caleb Martin from Miami, AP source says

FILE - Miami Heat's Caleb Martin (16) goes up for a shot during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Monday, March 18, 2024, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The Philadelphia 76ers continued to build around their star trio of Joel Embiid, Tyrese Maxey and Paul George with the addition of free-agent forward Caleb Martin, a person with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press on Saturday.

Martin intends to sign the multi-year contract shortly after the league’s moratorium on signings is lifted, said the person who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the deal was not yet official.

Terms were not yet available. ESPN reported it was a four-year deal guaranteed for more than $32 million.

The 28-year-old Martin, who averaged 8.5 points over five seasons, including the last three with the Heat. It was in Miami where Martin developed a reputation of raising his game. He averaged 10 points and shot 35% from 3-point range.

He’ll likely fill a starting spot left open in Philly, where the 76ers have totally 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 ut of 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 on Monday and Maxey agreed in principle to a $204 million, five-year extension with the team.

“As long as players are playing at a high level, we’re focused on Joel and Tyrese and we’re focused on now,” Morey said in May at his state-of-the-franchise press conference.

Martin was undrafted coming out of college after stints at NC 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 the breakout star of the 2023 NBA playoffs when he pushed the Heat to the NBA Finals.

He should 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. 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.

Martin's postseason numbers were exactly what the 76ers looked for as they filled out a roster that was about empty at the end of the season except for Embiid and Maxey. The 76ers also waived forward Paul Reed, the person said.

Under coach Nick Nurse, the 76ers' roster could look like this: Embiid, Maxey, George, Oubre and Martin in the starting five with Drummond, Gordon, first-round draft pick Jared McCain among the key contributors off the bench. The 76ers already lost through free agency or trade Tobias Harris, De’Anthony Melton, Nic Batum, Mo Bamba and Buddy Hield off last season's team.

“We’re mostly going to be a veteran-laden team after an offseason where there’s going to be a lot of change,” Morey said in May.

With roster spots still to fill, Morey isn't done yet.


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