NBA

Kyle Lowry trade rumors: Raptors guard prefers deal to Heat; Miami would need to give up Herro or Robinson

Excluding Bradley Beal, whose name lives in trade-rumor perpetuity, Kyle Lowry has been the biggest name on the realistic trade market as the March 25 deadline approaches. Reports have gone both ways: That Lowry would prefer to play out the season in Toronto before hitting free agency this summer, and that he wants to compete for a championship now. 

The bigger question is: What do the Raptors want? 

First and foremost, they want a good deal for Lowry. That sounds obvious, but there has been talk about them wanting to do right by Lowry, a franchise icon who help deliver their only championship. The way a deal could happen is if both parties can be satisfied — Lowry goes somewhere he wants to go, and Toronto gets what it wants in return before potentially losing Lowry for nothing this summer. That’s where the Miami Heat could step up to the plate. 

Per Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer, if Lowry is traded, he would prefer the Heat because of his relationship with Jimmy Butler, and on that strength the Heat are pursuing Lowry “harder than anyone.” In return, again per O’Connor, the Raptors want Tyler Herro or Duncan Robinson as the centerpiece. 

Herro is probably a non-starter in trade talks for Miami, but Robinson makes a lot of sense. He’s a free agent this summer, and he’s going to command a high dollar the Heat might not want to commit, even as great as Robinson has been in emerging as one of the best 3-point shooters in the world. Similar players are Davis Bertans, who got $80 million from the Wizards, and Joe Harris, who got $72 million from the Nets. The Raptors would surely intend to sign Robinson long-term if they accept him as the centerpiece of a Lowry deal. 

Thing is, Robinson is only making $1.6 million this season. Lowry is making $30 million. A deal for Robinson, Goran Dragic and Avery Bradley works. If Andre Iguodala or Kelly Olynyk were to be included instead of Dragic, a fourth player, like Maurice Harkless, would need to be added to make the money work. 

One way or another, it can be done, and the Heat are highly incentivized to take a swing here. They went to the Finals in the bubble. They believe, rightfully, they are a contender again, and Butler isn’t getting any younger. They have to strike now, and Lowry significantly lifts their championship odds. He’s a potent off-ball shooter next to Butler and an elite pick-and-roll creator to take some of the late-game playmaking duties off Butler’s shoulders. His two-man game with Bam Adebayo would be fantastic. 

Lowry also adds to Miami’s already stellar defense, which ranks as the best in the league since the start of February. Lowry is smart and still a menace on the ball. He understands the nuances of helping down on drivers and still recovering to shooters, a staple of Miami’s success. Imagine a late-game defensive lineup of Lowry, Butler, Iguodala, the recently acquired Trevor Ariza and Adebayo. Good luck scoring on that. 

We’ll see if Miami can get something done. The deadline is Thursday, and the clock is ticking. 



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