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Victor Oladipo is rounding into form. Now what?

Does Oladipo’s improved offensive play make Kyle Lowry a trade candidate?

NBA: Milwaukee Bucks at Miami Heat Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports

During the Miami Heat’s recent West Coast road trip, I wrote a blog post here titled, “How real is the Victor Oladipo offensive resurgence?” Now, after a couple weeks, we know it wasn’t just a fluke. Oladipo is rounding into form, and it’s become an exciting development during this otherwise dreary Heat season. (On a related note, the Heat are four games above .500 for the first time.)

Oladipo scored 10 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter of the Heat’s win over the Milwaukee Bucks yesterday. He played so well that Miami could afford to keep Jimmy Butler resting on the bench for the entire period. How often have we seen, not just this season, that the Butler-less Heat struggle to hold a lead early in the fourth?

As I mentioned, the Heat came into the season hoping for Oladipo to take on the role of the sixth man. During the 2022 playoff run and earlier this season, Oladipo looked far better as a defensive stopper than a true two-way threat reminiscent of his days with the Indiana Pacers.

Now that’s changed. Oladipo looks like someone who can anchor the Heat bench unit. He’s scored in double figures in seven of the Heat’s last eight games.

What should the Heat do know? This development should inform Miami’s trade deadline plans. (And today marks the first day the Heat can trade Dewayne Dedmon, which many fans have looked forward to.)

As we knew going into this season, the Heat need to trade for a true starting power forward to allow Caleb Martin to play the backup wing, a better suited role for him. But some have wondered if this improved play from Oladipo — as well as Gabe Vincent, who has played well since returning from injury — makes Kyle Lowry expendable.

Ethan Skolnick of the 5 Reasons Sports Network has already suggested that Lowry come off the bench when he returns. Does it make sense to have Lowry and Oladipo run the second unit, or should the Heat look to trade Lowry to bolster the front court?

For the first time since arriving in Miami three years ago, Oladipo has looked closer to the player we hoped him to be. The front office should take note of that in deciding how to tinker the roster.