The 2020-21 season has finally come to a close, and with it the eighth year of Kyle Lowry’s contractual obligations to the Toronto Raptors. Drafted in 2006 and logging over 30,000 career minutes, the 35-year-old Lowry is still far from washed up.
He’s still one of the 10 or so best point guards in the world today, and while he won’t be signing anything close to the $90 million contract he earned last time, he still has enough value for one more big payday before it is all said and done.
There’s been a lot of speculation about Lowry staying in Toronto or moving on to another team. The greatest Raptor in franchise history has given more of himself to this city than perhaps any other basketball player ever has, but you can’t blame Lowry for wanting to jump ship from a sub-500. team entering a rebuild.
Lowry wants what anyone would want in this situation. He sees the end of his career on the horizon, and he wants to make the very most of the years he has left. He loves this city, he loves the Raptors and their fans, but if he wants to spend his final years in the NBA playing meaningful minutes for a contending team then he probably shouldn’t re-sign in Toronto.
Kyle Lowry might leave the Toronto Raptors.
Rather than have him just sign somewhere else and get nothing in return, Masai Ujiri would be able to execute a trade for Lowry and get back some young assets and cap fillers.
Looking back on this past trade deadline and you can see why it would be beneficial for all parties involved. By waiting until they could sign Lowry to a more affordable contract, the Raptors opened the doors for every contender out there.
Those contenders now don’t have to worry about absorbing a $30 million deal, and they can now put together a simpler trade package without worrying about matching salaries. Then Lowry, who gets a little extra cash from a team with cap space and now has a bunch more destinations available to him. Everybody wins.
So who would be interested? Who would be willing to part with some of their future in exchange for a team ceiling-raiser, champion, and All-Star point guard? They’d have to be a team looking towards the late playoffs, right?
The Philadelphia 76ers
Lowry’s hometown has long been speculated as a potential landing spot. The Sixers are itching for a championship run, and between Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, and Tobias Harris, they certainly have the talent for it.
However, they’re still missing some key ingredients, the more glaring of which is the shooting. Ben Simmons’ lack of scoring range has been well documented before, and while he’s gifted enough to reach All-Star status without it, such a glaring weakness will become more and more difficult to hide as Philly progresses further in the playoffs.
Lowry would help the team there. He’s been averaging better than 38% from deep these past six years, and better yet, he’s a deep-range shot creator. Lowry shot 40% from 25-29 feet this year, and that spacing would opening up some serious driving lanes for the entire Sixers roster.
Kyle Lowry could help the 76ers if he leaves the Toronto Raptors.
So what would a trade to Philly look like?
The Sixers have most of their money tied up in the Simmons/Embiid/Harris trio, but they have a little flexibility coming in this offseason with the expiring deals of Danny Green, Mike Scott, and Dwight Howard, a combined $22 million in salary.
That’s more than enough to absorb Lowry’s next contract, and they’d likely offer a package centered around Tyrese Maxey and future picks.
Is it the most intriguing return from the Raptors’ perspective? Perhaps not. But Lowry himself will have his own voice heard in these negotiations and you can bet he’s giving his hometown a serious look over.