Heat Notes: Lowry, Oladipo, Love, Zeller, Haslem

Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra recently raved about Kyle Lowry‘s performance in a new role off the bench after the veteran guard returned from a nagging knee injury that sidelined him for 15 games, according to Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel.

I think that month of really dedicating himself to getting healthy, getting his leg right, has paid a lot of dividends,” Spoelstra said. “In the minutes that we’re playing him right now, he looks fantastic. And then we’ll just continue to monitor him and we’ll see when we can take the next step.”

As Winderman notes, Lowry has averaged 10.0 points, 4.2 assists and 3.4 rebounds on .586/.579/.833 shooting in five games (24.9 minutes per night) since he returned. The Heat have gone 4-1 in those contests. Lowry is officially listed as questionable for Saturday’s important matchup with Brooklyn, Winderman adds.

Here’s more on the Heat:

  • Lowry might not be starting, but he has played the entire fourth quarter in each of the past two games, both victories, writes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald (subscriber link). “Just getting us in sets, slowing us down, getting us to cohesive triggers and he’s being so vocal right now,” Adebayo said of Lowry’s value. “It’s vital for our team. It’s the end of the year. He had some time off, so I feel like he’s really fresh. It’s good to have a fresh Kyle Lowry out there.”
  • Victor Oladipo has been a healthy scratch in three of the past four games — the one game he played was when Lowry sat out the front end of a back-to-back. He says the role reduction caught him off guard, but he’s trying to stay positive and be ready when called upon, Chiang writes in another story. “I wish I could answer,” Oladipo said of his reduced role. “It’s not something I’m used to. So I’m not really sure how to go about it. Like I said, I’m just focused on improvement and getting better.”
  • The Heat will only have Non-Bird rights on veteran big men Kevin Love and Cody Zeller, but that might be enough to bring them back without using their taxpayer mid-level exception, according to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. The Heat could offer up to 120% of their current salaries, which would be about $3.7MM for Love and $3.4MM for Zeller, with the veteran’s minimum for both players projected to be worth $3.1MM, Jackson notes. Miami used its biannual exception to sign Love, so it will not be available in 2023/24.
  • Couper Moorhead of Heat.com takes an in-depth look at the 20-year career of big man Udonis Haslem, sharing stories from teammates, staff members and coaches. The 42-year-old is retiring at the end of the season.
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