Caleb Martin addresses the media: Talks why Philly, why not Miami, and more

Caleb Martin, 76ers Sixers
Miami Heat’s Caleb Martin (16) tries to get past Philadelphia 76ers’ Tyrese Maxey during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2024, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

One of the most surprising additions the Philadelphia 76ers pulled off this offseason—yes, including Paul George—was the signing of Caleb Martin to a four-year deal. The Sixers had already spent the majority of their remaining cap space by signing George, and the market for Martin was expected to be rather significant.

In the end, Martin found his way to Philadelphia, spurning the beaches of Miami. Martin addressed the media Tuesday afternoon and spoke on why he chose Philadelphia, what happened with Miami, and more.

Right out of the gate, Martin was asked about why he chose Philadelphia. It was the question on the minds of the majority. Philadelphia has not been known as a free-agent destination— though that has seemingly begun to change in recent years, especially compared to Miami.

“Why not?” Martin responded. “It’s a great place. I plan on doing something special. The last couple of years, I’ve been a part of winning. That’s been a main factor for me. Especially the last couple of years, and I just think it’s one of the best places to do it. They’re putting a great team together. They’ve got a lot of guys with a lot of talent, so I think it should elevate my game in a personal way, and as a team, I feel like we can do something special.”

Martin was asked about the pitch the Sixers presented him that eventually sold him on the opportunity:

“The pitch was basically just—they just want me to come here and do what I do. Be around the guys that’ve been doing at a high level for a long time now and be one of those pieces that they’ve possibly been missing, so I just pride myself [on] being that guy in between and that glue as much as I can to fill the gaps and try to get over that hump.”

Martin acknowledged how hard it was playing against Philly and why that exact atmosphere is why he wanted to become a Sixer:

“It’s always tough.” Martin said. “The fans make it—I think the last time I was here, I think I gave the fans some chicken, so the people ain’t let me live that down yet, so just the atmosphere and just how much they ride for their fans. They’ll let you hear it whenever you’re playing bad too, so I like to think that type of pressure is good for you, so I’m excited.”

On what he can bring from his Miami days:

“I think just kinda what you said. Just kinda bringing a little bit of that experience and being able to get to the finals and not too many people know how, obviously, the route is to get there. I don’t even know myself the route to get there and get through that, and that’s why I’m trying to figure out how to get there and find a way to get over the hump with a new group of guys so we all got the same mindset and same goal at hand right now.”

As far as his fit in Philadelphia, Martin was confident in his ability to seamlessly integrate into his new environment:

“I definitely do. Just kinda like you said. The feeling you get from the fans is just kinda hard-nosed, blue-collar, scrappy, do whatever you can, and that’s what this kinda crowd and environment feeds off of, and I think I’m that type of player that can definitely get the crowd going and make plays like that and try to make as many plays as I can and just embrace everything that comes with it so I’m excited.”

Martin also touched on what happened with the Heat and their contract offer. Miami significantly offered significantly more money and a similar role. Despite this, Martin bet on himself, following his projected market:

“Certain things didn’t work. There’s a lot of things behind the scenes that went on, but ultimately, there was a lot in making that decision and there’s a lot that contributed to how everything went, but [the] past is [the] past. Can’t do [anything] about that, and like I said, I’m looking forward to being here and being a part of Philly and trying to bring everything I can in order to try to win a championship, so that’s my main focus now.”

There has been much made on money that Martin seemingly left on the table. Players have to Martin’s credit; he took a question about missed money on the chin and addressed it honestly:

“I mean, you’re always gonna wish you make as much money as you can, you know what I mean? That’s part of the game. That’s part of life, and you live and learn, and you take risks, and sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but I’m a true believer that everything happens for a reason, and I feel like I’m here for a reason. One of those reasons, I feel like, is a pathway to try and get to a championship.”

It’s been quite the journey for Martin in a short amount of time, but his preparing him for Philadelphia:

“I think that nothing’s been really easy for me in my path to get here. I think that kind of fits the narrative of how people go about their day every day around here and the environment. The kind of culture that’s being instilled here. Not only within the facility but just around the city, so I think I fit exactly what people pride themselves on around here.”