NBA rumors: Pelicans targeting Kyle Lowry

Marc Stein: There is rising buzz New Orleans plans to enter the race for free agent-to-be Kyle Lowry, league sources say. There will be several Lowry suitors but it’s clear why the Pels, desperate to help Zion Williamson reach the playoffs, would want in. More NBA: subscribe to Marc Stein’s NBA Newsletter.

More on Kyle Lowry Free Agency

This is the strongest market ever for former Grizzlies point guards. As with Mike Conley below, age will be a factor: Kyle Lowry is 35, so we’re probably looking at a two-year deal in the $50 million range.
The scout said that the ideal person to run the Sixers offense is Kyle Lowry, who made $30.5 million for Toronto last season and will be entering free agency. The scout said he doesn’t feel Lowry is a $30 million-type player at age 35, but that he can still be highly effective if he came to the Sixers. Lowry is from Philadelphia, starring at Cardinal Dougherty and then Villanova before beginning a 15-year NBA career that has included an NBA championship in 2019 with the Raptors and six All-Star appearances. “I would move heaven and earth to try to bring him home,” the scout said of Lowry. “He would be a natural for this team, a strong leader, and somebody who could take over the ballhandling load.”
In the past, sources said Lowry — a Philadelphia guy who played at Villanova — wanted to be a Knick. He’s 35, an NBA champion and still can bring shotmaking and playmaking. Don’t discount Lowry re-signing, unless the Raptors draft Gonzaga point guard Jalen Suggs. One league executive said giving more than a one-year guarantee at max money makes for a risk at age 35. “He’s better suited for a title contender — and that’s not the Knicks,’’ one personnel man said.
Nick Nurse on Kyle Lowry's free agency: “He still puts his body on the line. He still guards hard. He still scores, his numbers are good, his shooting percentages are good. And he's a tremendous talent. I hope we keep him. I think he's part of our core.”
“Everyone’s gonna have their own opinion,” Lowry said. “And it’s a good story for people to write and to have fun with. But we’ll see what happens. No one knows what the future holds. No one knows what comes with the next day. We all just have to live it every day and every moment. And that’s important, to just take it day by day and minute by minute, hour by hour, and live our lives like that. But it’s a cool story to write for people. I just hope they make me look really cool.”
The other major decision facing the Raptors this offseason is attempting to retain star free agent Kyle Lowry, the team's longest-tenured player and one of the driving forces behind its 2019 title. Ujiri said that decision will be made, in part, on what direction Toronto looks to go as an organization this offseason. "It just depends on what we are doing," Ujiri said. "When we evaluate this, we are evaluating in many ways. One of the ways we have looked at is giving the young guys even more opportunity and building the future rather than now. We have to look at the organization that way.
Kyle Lowry is among the point guards on the Knicks' radar for the 2021 offseason, SNY has learned. Lowry will be an unrestricted free agent in the offseason. He will likely command multi-year offers from several teams, but his future in Toronto is unclear due to the uncertainty over the future direction of the franchise.
Prior to the 2021 trade deadline, the Raptors had discussions with several teams – including the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat – about trades involving Lowry. The Heat have long been linked to Lowry, so it wouldn’t surprise anyone if Miami pursued the 35-year-old in free agency.
Lowry not getting traded at the March 25 deadline was quite a surprise, but it wasn’t for lack of trying on the part of the Toronto front office. But as team president Masai Ujiri made clear back then, the Raptors still have an incredibly high opinion of Lowry and his game that — as they saw it — wasn’t properly reflected in the offers that came their way. Yet among the three teams known to be in hot pursuit of Lowry back then — the Lakers, Miami and Philadelphia — only the Heat are in a financial position to possibly sign Lowry outright this summer. Sources say the Sixers still plan on pursuing him by way of a possible sign-and-trade. While they added George Hill at the deadline in lieu of Lowry, only $1.2 million of his $10 million salary for next season is guaranteed, and the deal expires at that point. The Lowry interest remains very strong there.
If it doesn’t work out with Oladipo, the Heat could pivot back to Lowry. League sources said if Lowry had been traded, his preference was the Heat because of his close friendship with Jimmy Butler. The Heat can realistically create about $26 million in space while retaining the restricted free-agent rights to Robinson and Kendrick Nunn, if the salary cap is $112 million as currently projected.
Oleh Kosel: Brian Windhorst on The Jump says it's unclear if Pelicans can afford to keep Lonzo Ball due to other financial commitments but to watch Knicks, Heat and Raptors. Zo, Schroder & Lowry are "to be the subject of a bidding war amongst the teams that need a point guard this summer."
The home, owned by KL7 Inc., a nod to Lowry’s uniform number, was put on the market about a month ago, only days before the Raptors announced they’ll play the remainder of their 72-game schedule in Tampa, Fla., where they’ve been playing “home” games at Amalie Arena since the season began in December. Currently playing out the final year of his contract, Lowry’s NBA future remains uncertain.
All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry understands why Kawhi Leonard would leave for the Los Angeles Clippers, but the longtime leader of the Toronto Raptors has no desire to bolt Canada. "I want to be there -- I would love to do a long extension, but we'll see what happens," Lowry said. "I'm here for USA Basketball and (to) support the guys and be around the group. I would love to be there long term, but we'll have that discussion when the time is right."
Eric Smith: Lowry says he's "all in" with the Raptors; wants to take the organization, city, and country to new levels.
Kyle Lowry: But for me, at the end of the day, this was an easy decision. And all of those roads … they all led me back to the same place: home. They all led me back to Toronto. When I got here, five years ago, there was a lot of rebuilding talk. A lot of, Man, this roster, I don’t know … the Raptors gotta blow it up. These experts, I think they wanted us to trade this, waive that, tank this, draft that. That was most of the talk surrounding our franchise. And I was definitely one of the names being included in that talk.
Kyle Lowry: I’m coming back to Toronto because my heart is telling me that it’s home — and because staying home, for me and my family, feels like the right thing to do. My heart is telling me that this is the best city in the world, with the best basketball fans in the world. It’s telling me that the Raptors can be a championship-level team, sooner than later. And I’ll be honest (and don’t hate) — it’s telling me that I’ve still never had poutine.
“I could definitely see myself re-signing with the Lakers,” Robinson said. “Business-wise, family-wise and basketball-wise, it makes sense for me. I have a lot of things going for me out here – there are so many opportunities and resources and people I connected with in Los Angeles who helped me. With my family, we were able to get comfortable. It would mean a lot to just stay put here.
Jeff Zillgitt: Growing sense among NBA executives that Kyle Lowry will return to Raptors. Don't be surprised if deal is three years, approx $27M per season
Alex Kennedy: With the Eastern Conference seemingly getting weaker, rival executives currently believe Toronto may re-sign Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka.
Leo Beas: Per sources, The Sacramento Kings are very interested in signing Kyle Lowry as free agency approaches. It would require a max contract.
Alex Kennedy: Add the Mavericks to the list of teams pursuing Kyle Lowry, per source. Lowry would help Dallas compete now and he'd mentor Dennis Smith Jr.
Butler was already “in the ear” of Kyle Lowry about joining him in Chicago, and—according to SiriusXM’s Mitch Lawrence—Butler is continuing to recruit Lowry to the Timberwolves. “[Butler] has talked to Kyle Lowry through their Team USA association about coming to Chicago. “Now I heard he’s working on him about coming to Minnesota.”
DeMar DeRozan has made it clear that he won't try to influence the free-agency decision of friend and All-Star backcourt mate, Kyle Lowry, but the All-NBA shooting guard does have one request for Lowry - just give him a heads up first. "As long as he tells me, and I don't have to read it, I'm completely fine with it," DeRozan told theScore on Wednesday, when asked how he'd react to the worst-case scenario of Lowry departing Toronto. "If he comes to me as a man and tells me it's time to move on, I'll respect it. It's just the choices in life we have to deal with. You're kind of more accepting when somebody close to you like that tells you before they do something, so you're not surprised just like everybody else. As a friend - me calling myself his friend - I have to just respect it."
That said, the Raptors don’t want to use more resources than required. They have sent signals in the past that they are reluctant to offer a guaranteed fifth year to a point guard who will turn 32 next season and would prefer to avoid a fully-vested fourth year. “It’s a smart move,” said one player agent. “It means they don’t have to bid against themselves.” “Maybe he gets out there and finds out there’s not a better deal for him,” says another.
One Western Conference executive thought Lowry could get four years and $100 million. Another agent felt confident would get $30-million a year. The catch? Both thought the deals would be from another team. “I’ve heard he wants out, like, yesterday,” said the executive. “From an agent and a player.” Said the agent: “I just heard from a team that they think they are going to get him.”
I’ll sneak in one Raptors question while we’re on the subject. With Kyle Lowry going into free agency, will you recruit him? DeMar DeRozan: Last go around when he was up for free agency, I never once called him and said what he should do. He’d tell you himself. I’ll take the same approach. At the end of the day, he has to make the right decision for himself and his family. No matter how close we are, I never fool with that part of it. When you have a family and that dynamic comes into play, you have to do what’s best for you. He has to be able to live with whatever decision he makes, and as a friend I just have to support him.
The Houston Rockets are aggressively trying to make trades in conjunction with Thursday's NBA draft to create the needed financial flexibility this summer to pursue a marquee free agent, according to league sources. Sources told ESPN on Wednesday that the Rockets have at least four top-tier free agents in their summer sights: Atlanta's Paul Millsap, Toronto's Kyle Lowry and the LA Clippers duo of Chris Paul and Blake Griffin.
"He's been a part of our organization, and he says he wants to come back," Ujiri told the media Tuesday morning. "I know, speculation ... with the article. We all have ups and downs. There are times when he's been down, and there are times when we are down. It happens to every team, every player. People go through it. "I know what Kyle has told me. Kyle has been here working out - he actually just left - so I know what he has been telling me. I can only believe what he tells me, not the famous 'sources.'"
"He's been a part of our organization, and he says he wants to come back," Ujiri said Tuesday morning. "I know, speculation ... with the article, we all have ups and downs, there are times when he's been down, and there are times when we are down. It happens to every team, every player. People go through it."
Even if the organization did manage to make a deal for a big-time player, Kyle Lowry is a free agent, and multiple league sources say the all-star point guard has been grumbling about dissatisfaction with the Raptors for months. As of mid-May other teams were being told Lowry had “zero interest” in returning to Toronto, even if the Raptors offered a maximum five-year deal.
Philadelphia’s draft move means they can draft dynamic guard Markelle Fultz, which closes a door on the 76ers pursuing Lowry. Which, for the record, was always considered a bit of a fan dance by plugged-in NBA sources.
The main impetus for the Casey-led assembly is unclear, but the Raptors are obviously under pressure to re-sign Lowry, who is projected to be one of the most coveted free agents on this summer's market. Among Casey's objectives for the meeting, sources say, was to expose his players to the NBA Finals culture.
Sources have said the North Philly native has been interested in playing for the Sixers for some time. The speculation only heightened once Bryan Colangelo became the president of basketball operations in April 2016. As the Raptors general manager, Colangelo acquired Lowry in a trade from the Houston Rockets on July 11, 2012. The two have remained good friends since then.
Appearing on the 97.5 Midday Show, ESPN reporter Brian Windhorst continued to stoke the Lowry to Philly fire, calling the scenario “in play” (h/t Liberty Ballers): I think it’s in play. I think the Sixers are interested, I would think it would take a max-level contract. I don’t know how Bryan Colangelo feels about paying a 31-year-old a max-level contract, and they’ve also declared that Ben Simmons is going to be their guy. That could be a marriage where you bring Ben along with Kyle, and then by the time Kyle is ready to transition to a more backup role, maybe Ben could be ready, or maybe they want to go with Ben right away. That’s things they haven’t made public yet and I understand why they haven’t.
Sirius XM NBA: Casey says Lowry has earned the right to be a FA, but Lowry knows the franchise is ready to win.
The morning after the Raptors’ season ended in a four-game sweep by the Cleveland Cavaliers, DeRozan said he hasn’t thought much about Lowry’s future with the team. "I never looked at it or tried to put it into perspective, what it would be like without him," DeRozan said. "It’s going to be a decision on him that he’s going to have to make, and I support him 100 per cent. "We gained something that goes way beyond basketball, so that's why when it comes to things like this, I don't put the pressure on him, or I don't say: do this, do that. He's got to make the decision, as a friend I've got to be there to support him."
Play hardball with Lowry, and he might leave -- just like Al Horford bolted Atlanta after the Hawks haggled over that dicey fifth season. Lowry's a prickly, proud dude, and he will have suitors -- including his hometown Sixers. He signed what turned out to be a wildly below-market contract in 2014, and he (justifiably) wants to be paid as a franchise guy. He led the sad-sack Raptors out of the sullen Andrea Bargnani era, to places where they had never been.
DeRozan wants Lowry back, but won't lobby him, he told ESPN.com on Sunday. "I didn't call or pressure him the first time, and he didn't do that to me," DeRozan said. "I'm just gonna be there for him as a friend."
Bobby Marks: Kyle Lowry has 7 days to exercise his $12 million player option for 2017-18. Opting out and Lowry would count $18m towards the cap.
Lowry has not been definitive in discussing his impending free agency—at the All-Star game, he would only say that staying in Toronto, “would be an option.” The wrist injury that will keep him out for the rest of the regular season is a tough blow, especially because the Raptors’ future prospects will be part of Lowry’s free-agent decision. If the team stumbles in the early portion of the postseason, Lowry would be more willing to sacrifice the financial advantage the Raptors can offer to explore the market. Lowry was very interested in signing with the Lakers in 2014, but was scared off by the lack of a direction in L.A. That’s changed, and even with D’Angelo Russell in place, Lowry is expected to be a Laker target. Lowry’s hometown Sixers, badly in need of a point guard, figure to be in the mix, too. An outside contender: the Nuggets, who are expected to be aggressive in free agency this summer.
Sources close to the Raptors said this weekend there was almost no scenario in which the Raptors wouldn’t pony up the money unless Lowry told them directly that he does not want to be there. Today, though, that is not the case. Lowry does have a player option worth $12 million, but he is obviously expected to decline it.
Do you want to stay in Toronto? Is that your first choice? Kyle Lowry: When the time comes, then I will worry about it. It definitely will be an option. It's definitely home. I have been given the keys to it, [and it's where] I have been most successful. When that time comes, I'll think about it, but for now I just want to keep winning and try to get to that next level and take it game by game and day by day.
Zach Lowe thinks that the Sixers will absolutely make a run at pending free agent Kyle Lowry this summer. The ESPN journalist spoke on his The Lowe Post podcast with Brian Windhorst Thursday, citing several reasons why the franchise could pursue the veteran Raptors point guard.
Lowry is from Philadelphia, Lowe mentions, and has played under ex-Raptors executive Bryan Colangelo previously. On top of that, the Sixers will have an exorbitant amount of cap space and could benefit from the services of a point guard should they ultimately decide to utilize Ben Simmons in ways other than as a traditional playmaker.
Kyle Lowry plans to opt out of the final year of his contract, he told The Vertical, passing on a $12 million salary in 2017-18 to join a point-guard marketplace that will include the Los Angeles Clippers’ Chris Paul and Golden State’s Steph Curry, who has already said he plans to re-sign with the Warriors.
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September 25, 2021 | 12:12 pm EDT Update

Wizards would like to add a center

But Len and Lopez are gone, leaving Unseld with new arrival Montrezl Harrell, from the Lakers, and slightly-less-new arrival Gafford, who joined the Wizards from the Chicago Bulls at the trade deadline last season and made an immediate impact with his energy, athleticism and ability to slam lobs. Sheppard told The Washington Post in an interview this week that the Wizards would like to add a third center to shore up the spot with Bryant not expected back until winter, but for now, Gafford is Washington’s starter.
The Heat are among the least flexible teams in the league in terms of being able to make in-season moves. After rehauling their roster to sign Lowry and Tucker, extending Butler and signing many players to minimum contracts, they only have three players on the roster that can currently be traded. Theirtrade flexibility will open up in December and January once free agents that were signed become eligible to be traded, but they severely lack tradeable salaries. After their starters, most of whom seem very likely not to be moved, their next highest salary is Tyler Herro at $4.0 million. His salary combined with several of their minimum players will heavily limit the type of return they can get in a trade. They are also just $6.6 million below the hard cap, which is another factor that could hold them back from adding significant money to the payroll.