The Pelicans – seemingly in pursuit of Kyle Lowry – traded down in the draft to clear significant cap space. It appeared New Orleans knew something (which was certainly possible the way NBA free agency operates).
But Lowry joined the Heat on a three-year, $85,000,002 contract.
Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald:
We’re told Dallas finished second behind the Heat for Lowry; he was intrigued by the Mavericks, who were willing to meet his price tag, but he preferred playing with Butler in Miami.
New Orleans was willing to go to $90 million over three years or more, according to a source, but Lowry never leaned toward going there, according to the source.
The Pelicans also made a big offer to Chris Paul, but he re-signed with the Suns.
Maybe New Orleans was right to take these big swings. But striking out on stars still stings. The clock is ticking around Zion Williamson.
The Pelicans settled for Devonte' Graham, surrendering more draft capital in a sign-and-trade with the Hornets. That was after New Orleans lost Lonzo Ball to the Bulls in a sign-and-trade that netted only moderate return.
Lowry would have helped the Mavericks, who could use another playmaker with Luka Doncic. Dallas’ top signings, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Reggie Bullock, won’t help with that.
It’s easy to see why Lowry preferred playing with Jimmy Butler. They’re so similar in their approaches to the game, perfectly fitting the culture the Heat want to establish.
No mention of Philadelphia, which was also reportedly interested in Lowry. The 76ers might be aiming higher now, though their point-guard situation is far from settled.