Kyle Lowry Rumors

Ford’s Latest: Knicks, Rockets, W’s, Pelicans

February 19 at 11:32am CDT By Chuck Myron

Chad Ford of ESPN.com takes an Insider-only look at the trade market for a handful of teams with little more than 24 hours remaining before Thursday’s 2:00pm Central trade deadline. We’ll round up the highlights here:

  • The Knicks are shopping Raymond Felton, Iman Shumpert and Beno Udrih as they seek to upgrade their point guard spot. Ford mentions Jeremy Lin as a long shot possibility for New York, but Houston is adamant it doesn’t want to give him up. Trading for Lin or Kyle Lowry would require the Knicks to relinquish Tim Hardaway Jr.
  • The Warriors have been listening to offers for Harrison Barnes, and they’ve gone as far as to counter a few of them, Ford hears. Greg Monroe, Thaddeus YoungTristan ThompsonKenneth FariedJohn Henson and Amir Johnson all intrigue the W’s as possible targets in exchange for Barnes, Ford writes. Golden State is also enamored with Kevin Love, as most teams around the league are.
  • Ford describes David Lee as available, too, but he notes there isn’t much of a market for him, which makes sense, given his bloated contract.
  • Part of the Pelicans‘ motivation for exploring trades for Eric Gordon and Tyreke Evans is the feeling that they could fall back into position to snag a top-five pick in this year’s draft if both guys are off the roster, according to Ford. Their first-rounder goes to the Sixers if it’s No. 6 or worse. Chris Mannix of SI.com wrote earlier this morning that New Orleans was looking to move either Gordon or Evans, but not both.

Knicks Pursue Jeff Teague, Still Eyeing Lowry

February 18 at 1:02pm CDT By Chuck Myron

1:02pm: Ken Berger of CBSSports.com also downplays New York’s pursuit of Teague, though he says it’s because of the Knicks’ lack of assets (Twitter link).

TUESDAY, 8:24am: Marc Berman of the New York Post throws cold water on the story, writing that the Knicks are expected to pass on Teague out of concerns about his long-term deal. He also hears that the Raptors, Hawks and Knicks didn’t have talks about the three-way deal involving Lowry, whom Toronto probably won’t trade, according to Berman. Still, the Knicks would love to flip Shumpert for a point guard, and that desire has grown stronger than the team’s pursuit of a backup center, Berman writes.

MONDAY, 3:27pm: The Knicks view Andre Miller as a fallback option, though their preference is for someone younger like Teague or Lowry, Stein writes in his full story.

2:02pm: New York is continuing to try to pry Lowry away from the Raptors, offering packages that include Felton, Iman Shumpert and Beno Udrih, Begley reports. The Knicks have been reluctant to offer Tim Hardaway Jr. or a first-round draft pick, but the Raptors are believed to be demanding at least one of the two, Begley writes. The Knicks, Raptors and Hawks have had preliminary discussions about a three-team deal that would provide the Raptors with the first-rounder they’re apparently seeking, according to Begley. Such a deal would send Teague to the Raptors, Shumpert to the Hawks and Lowry to the Knicks, sources tell Begley, who notes that it’s also still a possibility that Teague winds up with the Knicks.

1:03pm: The Knicks are focusing on upgrading their point guard position at the deadline, and Jeff Teague is a new target, according to Marc Stein of ESPN.com (Twitter links). Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com seconds the report, via Twitter. Hawks GM Danny Ferry apparently isn’t enamored with the four-year, $32MM offer sheet that Teague signed with the Bucks this past summer, goading the Hawks into matching it. Because the Hawks matched the offer sheet, Teague can veto any trade this season, as Stein points out (on Twitter).

New York renewed efforts to extract Kyle Lowry from the Raptors last week, but the Knicks have become convinced the Raptors won’t deal him, Stein tweets. Incumbent Knicks point guard Raymond Felton is averaging a career-low 10.4 points as New York sits two and a half games out of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Teague, by contrast, is putting up a career-best 15.6 points per game, and he’s also matching his high of 7.2 assists per contest. The Hawks are fifth in the East, but are below .500 at 25-26.

Masai Ujiri On Lowry, Casey, Hayes

February 17 at 12:36pm CDT By Chuck Myron

Raptors GM Masai Ujiri‘s phone isn’t making much noise, but he’s not turning it off, either. Ujiri tells Mike Ganter of the Toronto Sun that he’ll be listening to trade offers that come in between now and Thursday’s deadline. The Raptors are 28-24, good for third place in the Eastern Conference, but the team’s performance hasn’t altered Ujiri’s timetable for putting the club in title contention, Ganter notes. Ujiri also spoke with Doug Smith of the Toronto Star, and we’ll pass along the best of both pieces here:

On whether he’s open to trading Kyle Lowry or any other player:

“I hate to comment about any player in that way, but I think we are not good enough so you have to keep it open. That’s the honest answer. These guys have done pretty good. I know we’ve won a couple of games but we haven’t done anything yet. We’ll keep trying to grow.”

On coach Dwane Casey, whom Ujiri says has done “an excellent job”:

“When we talked about it with Casey when I came on, it was something like where I said we are going to assess the whole season and for me, my evaluation was not wins and losses at all. For me, you almost put a coach under pressure where he’s trying to do things. It wasn’t only the growth of the players. It was the growth of the coaches and the growth of us working together as a front office … I don’t just mean, ‘How did Terrence (Ross) grow or Jonas (Valanciunas) grow?’. How did we all grow working together? How are we all growing together? How do we interact, how do we communicate with front office, coaches, players? That’s our job here. We’re not always going to agree but we have to find a way to communicate and make a decision on things.”

On whether he sensed the December trade that shipped Rudy Gay to the Kings would be so beneficial to the Raptors:

“When we did the trade, we honestly didn’t know which way it would go so we were preparing for either way. Obviously, you do background, you check on attitude, you check on good teammate, you check on off-the-court habits and that stuff. Even some of that information, you can only get so much that’s accurate and so much that’s not but we tried to just do our homework, due diligence like everyone does. You bring in someone like (Greivis) Vasquez who can maybe (play) as a starter in the pinch. I think (Patrick) Patterson is a young big in the league and you’re intrigued by some of the little things he does. I think (John) Salmons is older but brings a steady calm and, you know what? Chuck Hayes? I didn’t know what Chuck Hayes had left but (as) a post-defender and leader and anchor type in pinch minutes on defense, I think he’s shown us he can be (of) some help.”

Knicks Target Lowry, Raptors Reluctant To Deal

February 12 at 4:09pm CDT By Ryan Raroque

4:09pm: Sources close to Lowry also tell Wojnarowski that the Raptors are unlikely to deal the point guard, as the Yahoo! scribe notes in his full story. Wojnarowski pegs the kind of deal Lowry could receive in free agency this summer at four years, $45MM.

3:21pm: A rival executive says the Raptors have told him they won’t deal Lowry away, according to Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

TUESDAY, 2:29pm: The Raptors have shown “significant reluctance” to part with Lowry, preferring instead to keep him for a postseason run, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. That’s in contrast to what Chad Ford of ESPN.com is hearing, as he wrote today that Toronto continues to be aggressive in pursuit of a Lowry deal.

MONDAY, 5:42pm: The Knicks are once again interested in Kyle Lowry after opting not to trade for the Raptors point guard two months ago, according to Frank Isola of the New York Daily News (Twitter link). The deal that had reportedly been vetoed by Knicks owner James Dolan initially involved Raymond Felton, Metta World Peace, and a 2018 first round pick in exchange for Lowry.

With Toronto leading the Atlantic Division, Isola (via Twitter) doesn’t think it’d make sense for them to trade their best player right now. However, as we noted yesterday from TNT’s David Aldridge, the Raptors aren’t currently willing to pay top dollar this summer to retain Lowry for the long-term once he hits free agency. It certainly doesn’t guarantee that they would look to trade him before the February 20 deadline, and Aldridge acknowledged a scenario in which Toronto keeps Lowry for the rest of the season and opts to part ways during the summer. By the same token, Aldridge adds that if Toronto would be overwhelmed with an offer, they’d most assuredly listen.

When talks had been heating up in December, other names reportedly tied to discussions included Iman Shumpert and Tim Hardaway Jr., who were said to have been sought out by the Raptors if the Knicks were ultimately unwilling to give up a first round pick. In another report, it was said that Toronto eventually requested Hardaway Jr. and a 2018 first round pick along with Felton in exchange for Lowry. Though talks essentially fell through, it’s definitely worth wondering if the Knicks’ renewed interest is coupled with a willingness to part with a previously untouchable asset.

Atlantic Rumors: Lowry, Sixers, Wyatt, Celtics

February 12 at 1:13pm CDT By Chuck Myron

The Raptors continue to be aggressive in their search for the right Kyle Lowry trade, according to Chad Ford of ESPN.com, who echoed his own late-January dispatch on the subject as he answered reader questions in a chat. Ford also says the Sixers are still leaning toward taking Andrew Wiggins over Jabari Parker if they have the opportunity at draft time. Here’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • The Blazers had talks with the Sixers in December about Spencer Hawestweets Jake Fischer of Liberty Ballers, who wonders if Portland will reignite those discussions now that Joel Freeland is sidelined for at least the next month with a sprained right MCL.
  • Sixers camp invitee Khalif Wyatt has signed to play in the D-League, reports Gino Pilato of D-League Digest (Twitter link).
  • The Celtics are keeping an eye on Turkish league center Colton Iverson, whom they took 53rd overall this past June, as Sportando’s Emiliano Carchia observes.
  • Chris Forsberg of ESPNBoston.com goes over the likely scenarios for the Celtics at the deadline, writing that it’s more likely the team trades Keith Bogans in the summer than in the next eight days.
  • We rounded up news on the Knicks in a separate post.

Kyler’s Latest: Carmelo, Magic, W’s, Kings

February 12 at 10:00am CDT By Chuck Myron

Lottery picks will be hard to come by at the deadline, which means there’s a strong chance that clubs, like the Sixers, with hopes of trading for one will have to settle for less, according to Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders. Kyler has a lot more from around the league in his latest NBA AM piece, as we detail:

  • Knicks executives have had a “very open and candid dialogue” about the notion that Carmelo Anthony could leave as a free agent this summer, but they remain confident enough in re-signing him that they’re not looking to trade him at the deadline, Kyler writes. New York appears intent on adding to its roster rather than selling off assets, Kyler observes, though the Knicks are still reluctant to include a draft pick in a deal for either Kenneth Faried or Kyle Lowry.
  • The Magic are open to moving Glen Davis, but there’s essentially no market for him because of concerns about his attitude and his contract, which pays him $6.6MM next season, Kyler writes. Orlando is listening to offers for Jameer Nelson, too, but the Magic’s unwillingness to take back long-term money makes it a long shot he’ll be dealt. Nelson’s deal, which gives him $8.6MM this season, is an impediment to a deal, too, according to Kyler, even though it’s partially guaranteed for just $2MM next year. Orlando also continues to rebuff offers for Arron Afflalo.
  • The Warriors are interested in acquiring players who are either on expiring contracts or relatively short-term deals, and in spite of last month’s trade for Jordan Crawford, they continue to look around for point guard help, according to Kyler. They’re also looking to acquire draft picks, Kyler adds.
  • The Kings remain the front runners for Andre Miller, Kyler says, though Miller’s lack of value on the market is making Denver hesitate. The Basketball Insiders scribe also reiterates that Marcus Thornton and Jimmer Fredette are prime trade candidates for Sacramento and adds Aaron Gray to that list.
  • Executives from the Magic, Wizards, Pacers and Grizzlies are downplaying their willingness to make deadline trades, but all of those teams are nonetheless on the lookout for some kind of deal between now and next Thursday.

Aldridge’s Latest: Gordon, Jackson, Monroe

February 10 at 12:37pm CDT By Chuck Myron

TNT’s David Aldridge’s lengthy “Morning Tip” column on NBA.com has a strong trade deadline focus this week, as is only appropriate with 10 days left before the big day. We’ll dive into the highlights here:

  • The Pelicans have been shopping Eric Gordon “for a while,” Aldridge writes, but an opposing GM says they’re not finding takers because rival teams realize that injuries have cut into the 25-year-old’s athleticism.
  • Aldridge expects the Pistons to try to convince Phil Jackson, who served as a special advisor to the team this summer, to coach the club, but Aldridge notes it’s unlikely the Zen Master would do so.
  • The Pistons aren’t giving up Greg Monroe unless it’s part of a blockbuster trade, and they’re hoping they can re-sign him this summer to a contract similar to the four-year, $49.4MM deal that Serge Ibaka inked with the Thunder in 2012. If not, Aldridge expects the Pistons to swallow hard and match a max offer sheet from another team.
  • Kyle Lowry will probably remain with the Raptors through the deadline, but that’s not an indication that the Raptors are willing to pay a heavy price to re-sign him this summer, Aldridge writes.
  • Aldridge hears plenty of trade chatter surrounding Kenneth Faried, and though the Nuggets deny it, Aldridge thinks there could be something to it. He’s up for an extension this summer, and if he doesn’t get one, he’ll be a restricted free agent in 2015. Denver wouldn’t be willing to give him an outsized payday as it stands, given its concerns about his defense, Aldridge writes.
  • Grizzlies management is high on Ed Davis, who’ll be a restricted free agent this summer, and Aldridge examines how that affects the team’s willingness to retain Zach Randolph. Aldridge says the Wizards would prefer to acquire Davis rather than Randolph if they had a choice.
  • Patty Mills will be a free agent at season’s end, but even amid increased playing time with the Spurs this season, he’s giving no thought to leaving for another team where he could have a larger role or make more money, according to Aldridge.

Ford’s Latest: Bosh, Lowry, Raptors, Afflalo

January 30 at 1:55pm CDT By Chuck Myron

Chad Ford of ESPN.com doubts the Heat‘s three stars will all be back in Miami next season, but he thinks the odds are in favor of the Heat retaining LeBron James. It’s Chris Bosh who’s most likely to leave, as Ford surmises from conversations with teams and agents. The ESPN.com scribe figures lots of teams will offer Bosh the maximum salary and give him the sort of primary role he hasn’t had with Miami. Ford passed along plenty of rumors in his chat this afternoon, including his bombshell on Kyrie Irving‘s private conversations about his desire to leave Cleveland, as we covered earlier. Here’s more:

  • The Raptors are “actively shopping” Kyle Lowry, Ford writes. An opposing GM who spoke to Ford’s ESPN.com colleague Chris Broussard said he thinks Toronto will hold on to the point guard through the deadline, so perhaps the Raptors are talking to lots of teams but still demanding a high return for the soon-to-be free agent.
  • Ford also suggests the Raptors would prefer to position themselves for the No. 1 overall pick rather than a high playoff seed, though it would seem Toronto’s chances of winning the draft lottery are quite slim, as our reverse standings indicate.
  • Arron Afflalo might be one of the most valuable trade assets on the market, according to Ford, who suggests the Magic could also extract a worthwhile return for Jameer Nelson.

Broussard’s Latest: Carmelo, Rondo, Love

January 30 at 10:39am CDT By Chuck Myron

Most of the executives to whom ESPN Insider’s Chris Broussard has spoken believe the Bulls will make a run at Carmelo Anthony this summer. Some are “completely convinced” Chicago will go after him, Broussard writes. A rival GM thinks the team’s confidence in Nikola Mirotic‘s ability will play heavily into the team’s decision regarding Anthony. A report in recent days indicated the Bulls are among the front runners for last year’s scoring champ. Broussard has plenty more in latest piece, and we’ll round it up here:

  • Rajon Rondo quickly ended extension talks with the Celtics, and the discussions didn’t even get to the numbers stage, according to Broussard, who says the point guard wants to keep his options open as he seeks a payday and a winning situation. Rondo has expressed his commitment to Boston, but the Knicks, who remain interested in trading for him, view him as the perfect complement to Anthony.
  • A GM tells Broussard that it’s “a 100% certainty” that Kevin Love will sign with the Lakers after next season. Most executives who’ve spoken to the ESPN.com scribe also believe the former UCLA star is headed for the purple-and-gold.
  • The Lakers might be willing to overpay Eric Bledsoe to bring him aboard via restricted free agency this summer, a source tells Broussard. Suns owner Robert Sarver has indicated he’s willing to match any offer for the point guard, so it’d be a surprise if Bledsoe wound up back in L.A.
  • If the Celtics, who are looking to clear cap room, can find takers for Gerald Wallace, Jeff Green and Avery Bradley, “they’re gone,” Broussard says. It’s not a surprise that GM Danny Ainge would be quick to unload Wallace, but his apparent enthusiasm for moving Green and Bradley is noteworthy.
  • The Raptors had engaged in trade talk with other clubs about DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry before their run to the top of the Atlantic Division, but Toronto is no longer looking to move DeRozan, barring an substantial offer. Broussard hears the Raptors are not high enough on Lowry to offer him a sizable contract when he hits free agency this summer, but an opposing GM thinks Toronto will hang on to Lowry through the trade deadline because of fears about alienating the fan base.
  • The Pacers will only trade Danny Granger if another team “blows them away” with an offer, Broussard writes.
  • Broussard detects a strong sense around the league that the Pistons are eager to trade Josh Smith.
  • The Sixers would be willing to take back a little bit of salary to acquire draft picks for their veterans, according to Broussard. I assume he’s referring to long-term salary commitments rather than players on expiring deals.
  • The strong play of the Grizzlies has quieted chatter surrounding Zach Randolph, Broussard reports.
  • The Heat are interested in Andrew Bynum, but they’re unwilling to pay him more than the minumum salary, an executive tells Broussard. Bynum is reportedly holding out for more than that.
  • GMs who spoke to Broussard identified the following players as candidates to be traded before the deadline: Andre Miller, Jameer Nelson, Emeka Okafor, Kenneth Faried, Shawn Marion, Dion Waiters, Jarrett Jack, Francisco Garcia and Arron Afflalo.

Trade Candidate: Kyle Lowry

January 28 at 3:05pm CDT By Chuck Myron

Kyle Lowry‘s season has followed a most unusual script. The point guard of a team that seemed to be disintegrating in the immediate wake of the Rudy Gay trade, when nearly every Raptor was on the block, Lowry was on the verge of heading to the Knicks before James Dolan vetoed his acquisition. The Nets and Warriors were among an “ever-growing” list of trade suitors for the soon-to-be free agent just as Toronto neared a deal with New York, but GM Masai Ujiri set a high price for Lowry even as he aggressively tried to move him. That ransom began to prove wise beginning with a stretch of three straight late December games in which Lowry scored 20 points or more. Those performances were at the start of a run of seven wins in eight games for the Raptors, who took control of the Atlantic Division.

The Raptors are 23-21 after Monday night’s win at second-place Brooklyn, and they’re tied with the Hawks for the third playoff seed in the Eastern Conference. Lowry has averaged 18.6 points, 8.3 assists and just 2.0 turnovers per contest since December 20th, the night of the first of those three consecutive 20-point performances. Lowry, who’s never made more than 37.6% of his attempts from beyond the arc in a single season, is draining 44.8% of his three-pointers during this hot streak. Virtually all of his numbers are up over the past month or so, giving the eighth-year veteran a realistic chance to make his first All-Star Game.

It adds up to a dilemma for Ujiri. Lowry is 27, so his sudden leap may be a function of having entered his prime. He may also be in line for a regression. Ujiri has to gauge how much of Lowry’s improved play will persist, and what it means for his value on the trade market as well as in free agency.

Most around the league feel as though the Raptors are more likely to keep Lowry than trade him, but that could have more to do with the unwillingness of other teams to meet Ujiri’s price than Toronto’s eagerness to deal him away, as Marc Stein of ESPN.com reported this week. Lowry’s impending free agency complicates matters, particularly since it’s difficult to gauge what he’ll be worth on the open market this summer. Eric Koreen of the National Post recently suggested bidding could start at $8MM a year, quite a sum for a guy whose $6.21MM salary for this season didn’t seem like a bargain before his torrid play of late.

Concern about his locker room presence apparently helped dissuade the Warriors from going after him too hard last month. I think that’s more a reflection of a tight-knit W’s team not wanting to mess with its chemistry than an indictment of Lowry’s character, but it nonetheless suggests an up-and-coming club with plenty of young players might hesitate to bring him on.

That could be the case for the rebuilding Magic, one of the teams that’s drawn mention as a Lowry suitor in the past several weeks. Orlando’s interest would seemingly center on a feeling that Lowry is a better long-term option at the point than Victor Oladipo, a natural shooting guard, and the Magic would bank on the notion that they could re-sign Lowry this summer. The Magic have plenty of youth and draft picks they could offer Ujiri, but little that would help the team hold on to a high playoff seed this season.

The Pelicans, whom Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio identified as a Lowry suitor in the same report, are a curious inclusion in the race, particularly since the report came out before Jrue Holiday went down with a stress fracture in his leg. Holiday’s salaries are in the $10MM range for the rest of his contract, which runs through 2016/17, so maybe New Orleans sees Lowry as a someone who could provide similar production and, at worst, re-sign for about the same money. Ujiri might want Holiday, who’s four years younger and can’t bolt Toronto this summer, but there’s no indication that New Orleans has been considering a one-for-one swap of point guards.

Grantland’s Zach Lowe wrote about the Heat’s desire to add Lowry, but Miami doesn’t have the assets Toronto would want in return, as Lowe notes. Any move that strengthens Miami would lessen the chance that the Raptors could pull an upset if they were to meet in the playoffs, and if Ujiri is optimistic about this season, that might be in the back of his mind.

Ujiri came to a team at a crossroads when he joined the Raptors this summer, and his assignment has only become more complicated since. What the team does with Lowry, and, just as importantly, what the Raptors sense Lowry wants to do regarding them in the summer, figures to have a lasting effect on the franchise. Ujiri has plenty of options with Lowry, and if he wants to add another Executive of the Year trophy to his mantle, making the right choice in the next three weeks will go a long way toward that end.