TAMPA, Fla. — Kyle Lowry would be a perfect fit for the 76ers.
The same can be said about the Miami Heat. The best spot for the Philly native and Toronto Raptors point guard, however, is the Los Angeles Clippers.
According to sources, those three teams could become potential trade destinations for the former Cardinal Dougherty High School and Villanova standout. That is, of course, if Lowry opts to not finish the season with the Raptors.
A source said Lowry would like to be in Philly. The source believes the Sixers and Raptors might be able to get something done. But if it comes to that, Toronto would most likely want some picks, young players, and veterans with expiring contracts for Lowry, who’s making $30 million this season.
But it’s still early, as the trade deadline isn’t until March 25.
The 34-year-old’s contract with the Raptors expires at the conclusion of the season. This is his ninth season with Toronto after previous stops with the Memphis Grizzlies and Houston Rockets.
While Vince Carter is regarded as the all-time best Raptors’ player, Lowry is the most decorated one.
His six All-Star appearances have come during his Raptors’ tenure. So did his third-team All-NBA selection in 2016 and gold-medal win with USA Basketball in the 2016 Summer Olympics. Lowry also helped the Raptors win their lone NBA title in 2019.
But until recently, this season had been disappointing for the Raptors (16-16 as of Tuesday). And wanting the best for one of their all-time greats, Toronto told Lowry they would be willing to trade him to a preferred destination if they get something of value in return, according to sources.
A league source says the Raptors want to reward Lowry for his years of service by helping him secure an opportunity to win another NBA title. That would help his legacy.
That’s where the Sixers, Heat, and Clippers come in, sources say. Though things are far from definite at this point.
Sixers president of basketball operation Daryl Morey has always liked Lowry, sources said. He also likes him personally. But let’s not forget that Morey traded him to Raptors on July 11, 2012, for Gary Forbes and 2013 first-round pick.
So it’s not like he always loved his game. Lowry’s game, however, has grown since the two last worked together.
Plus, the Sixers need a guy like him. Not only is he a perennial All-Star, Lowry knows how to run a team. He’s a winner, a leader, and possesses a toughness that would benefit the Sixers. He’s also shown that he can coexist in the backcourt with another ball handler when he plays with Toronto with Fred VanVleet.
Adding him to the mix with Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, and Tobias Harris would put the Sixers in great position to advance to the NBA Finals.
There’s a sense that the Heat like him a lot.
But they are not ready to make a move due to being unsure if they can turn around this season. The defending Eastern Conference champions took a three-game winning streak into Wednesday night’s game against the Raptors at AmericanAirlines Arena. However, they were in 10th-place with a 14-17 record.
However, Lowry’s best opportunity to win a title is with the Clippers.
He’s the one thing they’re missing. The Clippers have two All-Stars in small forward Kawhi Leonard and shooting guard Paul George. They also have solid players in Serge Ibaka, Nicholas Batum, Lou Williams, Marcus Morris, and Luke Kennard to name a few.
Leonard and Ibaka were members of the Raptors’ 2019 championship team. He and Morris are both from North Philly and former Rockets teammates.
Not only that, Clippers coach Ty Lue and assistant coach Chauncey Billups are close friends of his.
So Lowry has options, and they are good.
Still playing at an elite level, the 15-year veteran wants to play two more seasons at around $30 million per, according to sources.
The Raptors are going to want solid assets in return, which means the team that acquires him will most likely want a commitment beyond this season from the point guard.
We’ll see if Lowry opts to leave, especially since the Raptors are starting to find their groove. They won four straight and seven of 10 games before losing to the Sixers 109-102 on Tuesday. That was the fourth straight game Lowry missed with a sprained left thumb. He returned for Wednesday night’s tilt against the Heat. Toronto was in fifth place before the game.
So things aren’t as bleak as they once were. But there could come a point when he and the Raptors realize that they don’t have a chance of advancing deep in the postseason or winning a title.
When that time comes, what will Lowry opt to do? Will he allow them to facilitate a trade for him?
As you see, he’ll have some options.