When Rtors signed Kyle Lowry to a one-year extension of $ 31 million after their NBA championship in 2019, speculation immediately began as to whether this was a contract designed to make Lowry a more attractive trade target, as he would be under team control through 2021 season.
Here we are in the 2021 season.
Rtors stuck with Lowry last season and were again a top tier. This season has not gone so well. Rtors got off to a treacherous start and came into the game on Thursday with a 16-17 record, good enough for the current No. 5 seed in the heaviest Eastern Conference, but nowhere near meaningful strife.
There is an argument that Toronto could appear to be a buyer by the deadline and add a piece to yet another potential playoff run, but with Lowry set to turn 35 in March and on an expiring deal, Rtors could also be likely to pay out of the Lowry business while they are ahead. Instead of facing the dilemma of resigning him this summer or losing him for nothing, Rtors could trade the franchise icon while keeping his value relatively high.
The latter scenario makes too much sense for Lowry trade rumors not to start popping up at this point in the calendar. Friday night, Lowry’s agent, Mark Bartelstein, went on SiriusXM Radio and proclaimed Philadelphia Inquirers report from earlier in the day that had a potential Lowry deal cooking between Toronto and the Sixers to be just that, a rumor and an unfounded one.
“A lot of the rumors and things that are written about are just … it’s just what they are, are just rumors, and they’s designed to make people click on the article … It was today with Kyle Lowry. There was a story today that he’s pushing to go to Philadelphia. It’s just not true. The story came out today and so I had to get on the phone with [Rtors president] Masai [Ujiri] and [general manager] Bobby [Webster] and make sure they knew it certainly did not come from us. “
So let’s start with the obvious here: Much of the sports news you read about comes from agents. They definitely want certain things printed and talked about. It also makes sense that there are certain things they do not want to talk about, at least not at certain points in a discussion. No matter what, their motivation is always to create leverage for their client.
Now to the current report that came from Keith Pompey, a deeply embedded Philadelphia reporter. Nowhere in his article did Pompey write that Lowry was or was pushing to go to Philadelphia, as Bartelstein suggested. Below is exactly what Pompey wrote:
Kyle Lowry would be a perfect fit for the 76ers.
The same can be said about the Miami Heat. However, the best place for Philly natives and Toronto Rtors point guard is the Los Angeles Clippers.
According to sources, these three teams could become potential trading destinations for the former Cardinal Dougherty High School and Villanova standout. That is, of course, if Lowry chooses not to end the season with the Rtors.
A source said Lowry would like to be in Philly. The source believes the Sixers and Rtors may be able to get something done. But when it comes down to it, Toronto is likely to have some choices, young players and veterans with expired contracts for Lowry, who is earning $ 30 million this season.
Lowry “would be” a perfect fit for the 76ers. It is true. Lowry would also make sense for the Heat and Clippers. True. These teams “could” become potential trading destinations for Lowry “if” he does not stay in Toronto. Finally, Lowry “would like to be in Philly,” and the Sixers and Rtors “might get something done.”
The one part of this that perhs can be interpreted as Lowry pushing for a trade with the Sixers is Pompey saying that Lowry would like to be in Philly. He’s not saying Lowry is pushing for it. What he says is that “if” Lowry were to leave Toronto, which by the way is something that could benefit Rtors as much as Lowry could, clearly Philadelphia would be a desirable landing place. It’s his hometown.
Pompey ended his report by saying that the Rtors “want to reward Lowry for his many years of service by helping him secure an opportunity to win another NBA title.” This sounds to me more like Rtors who want to trade Lowry than Lowry who is the one pushing on something, only with the classic caveat that they will or will do their franchise icon the honor of not sending him a place where he does not want to go.
It is therefore very reasonable that this is all that is being talked about behind closed doors, and to Bartelstein’s liking, it was just too early in the process for anything to become public. There are a hundred ways this can damage the lever in one way or another. It could simply be that an agent does not want his client to be painted in a negative light like a guy demanding a trade, even if that is the longest thing from what Pompey reported.
Let’s again stick to the information provided by Pompey – a respected and connected reporter in the world of Philadelphia hangers, where Lowry clearly has many connections – actually reported. The Rtors may consider trading Lowry, which is hardly even news in light of the situation, and if they do, the Sixers, Clippers and Heat have proven to be potential partners where Philly is a place Lowry would like to end “if” some of this is going to bear fruit.
Get past the agent’s speech, let’s actually speak basketball here. If a trade were to go down from Sixers’ point of view, Lowry makes perfect sense. More 3-point shooting and a perimeter playmaker are their two biggest holes and only perhs.
To make the money work, while presumably taking Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, Tobias Harris and Seth Curry (who are just too valuable as a shooter to give up) off the table, Philly would have to start a trading package with Danny Green and Mike Scott, both of whom are about to expire and earn $ 20 million in total. From there, Philadelphia could add Terrance Ferguson and rookie Tyrese Maxey, who would be the young asset Toronto wants to acquire.
Whether Rtors prefers Maxey or future trait choices or both, as the core compensation for Lowry, it is possible to create a deal. As for the Clippers, Lou Williams and Patrick Patterson are running out of deals and could be the basis for the money, even if more were to be added. But the Clippers lack a young asset as attractive as Maxey, depending on what you think of Terance Mann. They will have to build the package around elections, but as a championship candidate they will be elections in their late 20s that carry only so much value.
Miami can make the money work very easily. Either Meyers Leonard or Kelly Olynyk and Andre Iguodala (team opportunity for 2021-22) get it done. As for the young asset, Heat Trading is not Tyler Herro for Lowry. Duncan Robinson, perhs, could be an option or rookie big man Precious Achiuwa.
For me, Heat can provide the best deal with Robinson and a choice. But Maxey is really exciting, and if Philly is where Lowry prefers to go, if he’s actually traded, and it’s true that Toronto fails to do the right thing by Lowry (which there is every reason to believe they will do). for a guy who’s had that kind of influence on their franchise that Lowry has), the Sixers certainly make a lot of sense.