Multiple reports out of Toronto have said not to expect a trade of point guard Kyle Lowry before Thursday’s deadline.
Did you really think that would stop the rumors? Or stop teams from calling Toronto?
The talks are still going on, with Miami and Lowry’s hometown of Philadelphia the most likely landing spots, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic.
The Miami Heat and Philadelphia 76ers are leaders in pursuit to acquire Lowry, sources told The Athletic, and several rival team executives are monitoring the situation as well as which young player or asset either team could part with…
In Philadelphia and Miami, there is familiarity for Lowry. Philadelphia is home for Lowry, and the 76ers have held the top seed in the Eastern Conference all season. In Miami, Lowry would join a contender where he holds a close relationship with Heat star Jimmy Butler and where he would stay in-state, having played in Tampa all season.
Lowry is the greatest player in Raptors franchise history, the guy who was there as they went from forgotten to steady 50+ win team to champion. He is the guy who gets his jersey retired and a statue out in front of the building after he retires. Toronto will want to do right by him, which begs the real question: What does Lowry want? Play out this season in Toronto? To be traded to a contender now? We don’t know the answer to that (and the reporting is mixed).
The problem with getting a Lowry trade done is he makes $30 million. That’s a lot of salary to match. Charania notes Clippers have interest but no good way to get near that salary and make a deal work (the same problem L.A. has in a Lonzo Ball trade).
Toronto is not giving away Lowry for pennies on the dollar. For example, Miami would need to surrender one of their star young shooters — Duncan Robinson or Tyler Herro — to make a trade happen, reports Kevin O’Connor at The Ringer.
The Raptors would require at least Tyler Herro or Duncan Robinson from Miami in any potential deal, sources added. And since Lowry makes $30 million, the Heat would need to give about $24 million in total salary. Goran Dragic, who makes $18 million and has a team option for next season, would likely need to be included (or Kelly Olynyk, who makes $12.6 million). If draft pick compensation is required, the Heat can trade only first-round picks in 2025 and 2027 if the protections on the 2023 pick owed to the Thunder are lifted in a separate deal.
Miami would need to ask itself if it wants to trade away a quality young player when it can try to sign Lowry as a free agent this summer? (The Heat are over the cap, whatever it ends up being, heading into the offseason, but with team options on Dragic and Andre Iguodala they have ways to create space.)
Lowry is still playing at a near All-Star level, averaging 17.7 points and 7.4 assists a game, shooting 39.4% from three — he could help a lot of teams, Miami and Philadelphia included. It’s just that $30 million salary that makes finding a deal that works difficult.
Come Friday morning, the smart money is on Lowry still being a Toronto Raptor. But never say never in this league.