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Caleb Martin agrees to 3-year, $20 million deal to return to Miami Heat

Caleb Martin has agreed to return to the Miami Heat on a three-year deal worth $20 million, a source confirmed to ESPN’s Tim Bontemps.

A restricted free agent, Martin broke out last season for Miami, providing a solid rotation option on the wing to an injury-plagued Heat team.

After playing his first two seasons alongside his twin brother Cody in Charlotte, Caleb signed a two-way deal with Miami and went on to average a career high 22.9 minutes per match. He scored 9.2 points per game while shooting 50.7% from the field and 41.3% from 3-point range.

Martin, 26, started 12 games last campaign — mostly as a replacement for the injured Jimmy Butler — and his all-around offensive game and strong defense helped the Heat stay afloat without one of their stars.

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Martin is the latest role player to return this offseason to the Heat, who have also agreed to re-sign guard Victor Oladipo to a one-year deal earlier this month.

It’s not as much money as his twin brother got, but it’s still a good deal.

Martin said he wanted to be back in Miami, and the Heat wanted him back, the only question was the price. That turned out to be the taxpayer mid-level exception. 

This is for the taxpayer mid-level exception, which starts at $6.4 million and has raises from there.

Martin earned this. He was waived by Charlotte less than a year ago, had to sign a two-way contract with the Heat to keep his foot in the NBA door, and played so well they had to convert him to a regular deal.

Miami is not done rounding out its roster, with the biggest question — can the Heat find a way to win the Kevin Durant sweepstakes — still hanging out there.

Miami had the best record in the East last season and brings back Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler, but they need something more to win the East over a healthy Bucks or improved Celtics team. It doesn’t have to be a KD-level move, but the Heat need to do something more.

Brining back Martin is a good move, however.

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Chicago Bears sign Buffalo Bills OG Ryan Bates to offer sheet

Buffalo Bills restricted free-agent offensive guard Ryan Bates signed an offer sheet with the Chicago Bears on Thursday.

Bates, 25, had free-agent visits with the Bears, Minnesota Vikings and New England Patriots this week, according to league sources, after the Bills offered an original-round tender of $2.4 million.

As a restricted free agent, Bates is free to meet and receive offers from other teams, but Buffalo has the right of first refusal to match any contract offer he gets.

The Bills now have five days to match the contract that Bates signed with Chicago. Because he is tendered at the lowest level, the Bears will not need to send a draft pick to the Bills if Bates ends up in Chicago.

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The 6-foot-4, 302-pound Bates spent the past three campaigns primarily as a backup for the Bills after he signed as an undrafted free agent in 2019.

Due to injuries along the offensive line, Bates started the final three games of the regular season and two postseason contests, most of which came at left guard, and played 223 total snaps between left and right guard last season. He also has experience at center.

While injuries led to him taking the field, Bates maintained the starting job for the end of the season and playoff run due to his performance alongside left tackle Dion Dawkins. For the season, Bates had a 93% pass block win rate at guard, which hovers around league average, and a 59% run block win rate, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.

The Bills offensive line as a unit improved with Bates on the field. Quarterback Josh Allen was not sacked once over the final three games of the season and was sacked twice in the postseason.

At the start of free agency, Buffalo signed Rodger Saffold III, who said he expects to be starting at left guard in 2022. The Bills released offensive linemen Jon Feliciano and Daryl Williams earlier this month.

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