Sixers analysis

Two ‘triplets' together again as Sixers add Martin's grit, welcome back Oubre

Oubre is teammates with a Martin twin again.

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As Caleb Martin spoke to reporters for the first time as a Sixer, twin brother Cody Martin listened in from outside the media scrum.

Sixers wing Kelly Oubre Jr. also considers himself a quasi-member of the Martin family.

“I’m really excited to talk craft with Caleb, because I played with his brother Cody,” Oubre said in a virtual press conference Tuesday. “Him and his brother Cody, they tag teamed me when I was at Findlay (Prep), knocked me out of the national championship tournament when they were at Oak Hill. … But that’s my brother from afar. 

“I’m like a triplet at this point. I’m really excited, man, because he goes really hard and everybody respects his work ethic and what he brings to the game. I think Philly fans will fall in love with him, too.”

Oubre and Cody Martin grew close over their two seasons as teammates on the Hornets. 

“Kelly’s a really good dude,” Caleb Martin said. “I know he spent a lot more time with my brother Cody, but for the times I’ve been around Kelly, it’s like I’ve known him for years. Just a good dude, an easygoing dude. He’s about his business, but he likes to have a good time doing it. 

“(Those are) the type of guys that you need implemented in your group to try to keep business fun at the same time. Try to have fun as much as you can because of how tough the journey can be. He’s going to be a big piece of what we try to do.”

The Sixers are certainly pleased to now have Martin as a key piece of their roster. In the team's press release on his signing, president of basketball operations Daryl Morey called him “a battle-tested performer who has elevated his game when his teams have needed it most.”

Over the past two postseasons with the Heat, the 28-year-old forward averaged 12.5 points and 5.1 rebounds, shooting 42.6 percent from three-point range. He was so stellar in the 2023 Eastern Conference Finals that he nearly beat out Jimmy Butler for series MVP honors.

“I think that’s just one thing I’ve done most of my life,” Martin said. “Just when it’s a certain level of play that needs to happen and everybody’s level needs to rise, I feel like I fit into that kind of category. I feel like I’ve done that the last couple years and … that’s what I’ll be able to do here with a group of guys (that are) talented. I think surrounding myself with guys like that every day is going to make me better as a player.” 

Whether or not Martin again knocks down a high rate of his playoff jumpers, he looks capable of playing in many lineups and defending well in a variety of schemes. After his years under Miami’s Erik Spoelstra, Martin should be comfortable with zones, switch-everything units, and whatever else Sixers head coach Nick Nurse throws out there. 

And, if one-time Heat guard Kyle Lowry winds up returning to the Sixers, he’ll surely help with the transition. 

“I definitely think I fit,” Martin said. “Just knowing the history of Nick … coaching guys like Kawhi (Leonard), Kyle. Kyle Lowry’s one of my big brothers right now, so anywhere he fits, I know I’ll fit. 

“We’re the same type of guy just in terms of things we try to bring, (adding) winning attributes to a team. And he loves it here and he loves playing for Nick. I think I’ll fit in for sure.” 

Martin’s offseason route to Philadelphia was not the simplest, as he acknowledged Tuesday.

The South Florida Sun Sentinel’s Ira Winderman reported that Martin “turned down a five-year, $65 million extension ahead of free agency, one that would have required him to opt into the final year on his Heat contract.” Once Martin declined his $7.1 million option, “that offer was no longer possible,” Winderman reported. 

He ended up inking a four-year contract to join the Sixers with a player option for the final season. According to Spotrac, the deal has approximately $35 million guaranteed. 

“I mean, you’re always going to wish you make as much money as you can,” Martin said. “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 in 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 to get to a championship.”

As for Oubre, what was the athletic lefty weighing in free agency?

And what led him to re-sign on a two-year, approximately $16.3 million deal that includes a 2025-26 player option?  

“There were definitely (other) options on the table — options that are closer to the ballpark of where I’m working toward getting to,” Oubre said. “But at the end of the day, man, it’s all about situations, it’s all about fit, it’s all about the people that I’m working with and I’m working for. And that just superseded everything else, because I didn’t want to necessarily move my family to a new place, go and meet new people and have to do this all over again. 

“I want to … I don’t want to say finish what I started, because I don’t plan on being done. This is a step toward where I want to be at — signing a more long-term deal — but this was the place where I felt comfortable, and I felt safe and happy. And I fell in love with the game of basketball here, so why would I go anywhere else?”

Having a gritty “triplet” as a teammate again doesn't hurt. 

“The feel you get from the fans is just kind of hard-nosed, blue collar, scrappy, do whatever you can,” Martin said. “And that’s what this crowd and environment feeds off of. 

“I think I’m that type of player that can definitely get the crowd going and make plays like that. Try to make as many plays as I can and just embrace everything that comes with it. I’m excited.”

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