Sleeper free agent could bring "Heat Culture" to the Detroit Pistons

Miami Heat Introduce Jimmy Butler
Miami Heat Introduce Jimmy Butler / Michael Reaves/GettyImages

With the NBA Finals well underway, I stare at the television screen watching the games, thinking to myself: the Detroit Pistons aren't even on the same planet as these teams.

It's honestly jarring to think how far our Pistons are from competing for not only a championship, but a play-in spot. The talent, the shooting, the defense, the IQ's of these players; our Pistons couldn't be further from it.

The Detroit Pistons have not made the playoffs since 2018 (thanks Blake Griffin) and have not won a playoff game since 2008. Without playoff basketball in Detroit, every year I am forced to hop on a team's bandwagon. Ever since their NBA Bubble run, I have chosen the Miami Heat. Simply put, I love the way they play. I love the "Heat Culture" thing. I love Jimmy Butler.

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Their teams are never full of superstars, but rather a collection of very good players paired with overachievers and gym-class heroes who play the right way. One of those gym-class heroes is set to be a free agent this offseason, and I want the Pistons to go after him.

Caleb Martin is the perfect free-agent role player for the Detroit Pistons

A lot of players have been thrown around that the Pistons could go after this offseason. Malik Monk, Gary Harris, Tobias Harris, Miles Bridges (no thank you), Buddy Hield, and the list goes on.

However, Caleb Martin is rarely mentioned. Throughout my bandwagon fandom of the Miami Heat these last couple of years, Martin always jumps off the screen. He's a big guard/wing, standing at 6-foot-6 205 lbs, so he can guard larger forwards like Jayson Tatum or Jaylen Brown, but Martin is quick for his size making him a luxury to plugin any lineup, wherever you need him.

He can slot in at the 2, 3 or 4. He reminds me of Alex Caruso: a very solid defender, a hustler, a shooter, and a sneaky playmaker. He started 49 games during the Heat's championship run in 2023, shooting 36 percent from three and averaging 10 points and 5 rebounds. He's more than capable of going off in the biggest of games too, just ask the Boston Celtics:

I can't emphasize this enough: Caleb Martin cannot be the Pistons BIG signing this offseason, but if he was their second or third notable signing, then that should be a decent offseason.

With over $60 Million in cap space, this Pistons can more than afford to overpay a little bit for a guy like Martin. I see him netting anywhere from $12 to $18 million a year, as he comes from a winning organization, he's in his prime, he's a willing "stick your nose in it" defender and a very solid shooter.

Like Caruso, he's just a guy that every team could use. I am admittedly not this statistical, analyzing machine. I watch games, I check box scores, I look at player profiles and season-by-season stats, and I form an opinion. Caleb Martin checks the boxes. Where would he fit in with the Pistons? Who cares.

Sometimes you don't need to overthink it. Martin is a big three-and-D guard/forward. Like duct tape, you just plug him wherever you need him. He could start at the 2 or 3, play the 4 in a small ball lineup, or come off the bench. Out of everything I've seen from Martin over the years, I am confident in saying he is a team guy who just wants to play ball and win games. Bring him to the D.

Martin has a player option for next season at $7.1 million but is expected to opt out and test free agency.