The Heat and the Sixers continue to be the teams most frequently linked to Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry, and ESPN’s Brian Windhorst suggested on the latest episode of his Hoop Collective podcast that whichever team Lowry finishes the season with would be the frontrunner to keep him beyond 2020/21.
“I was talking to a GM this morning and he basically described it as this: ‘Kyle Lowry’s free agency is happening right now,'” Windhorst said, per RealGM. “The expectation is that Kyle Lowry will have a new contract by the end of this week. It is either going to be to stay in Toronto, whether it’s signed or an understanding that is going to happen. It’s going to be Miami or Philadelphia. Those are the three options that the expectation is out there.”
While Windhorst’s comments, as well as the latest article from Barry Jackson and Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald, suggest that an extension could be in play for Lowry this week – either from the Raptors or a new team – my understanding is that the veteran point guard doesn’t meet the NBA’s criteria for a veteran extension and will have to wait until free agency to sign a new deal.
Still, it’s safe to assume that if he’s traded this week, Lowry’s new team would have a pretty clear idea of what his next contract might look like and would be confident about getting something done.
As for the likelihood of a trade, Jackson and Chiang hear that as of Tuesday morning, Lowry hadn’t asked to be dealt. However, he remains curious about interest in him and has yet to rule anything out. The Raptors’ front office has also let him know they’ve had conversations with other teams.
Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer reported on Sunday that Miami would be Lowry’s preferred landing spot if he’s dealt, which Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press confirmed today (via Twitter). O’Connor also noted that Lowry’s close friendship with Jimmy Butler is an important factor in that equation, something that Jackson and Chiang wrote about today as well. Butler’s presence on the Heat roster also fueled James Harden‘s interest in the Heat earlier this year, according to the Herald duo.
If the Heat do attempt to make a deal for Lowry, they’ll likely resist including Tyler Herro unless the trade is expanded to include someone like Norman Powell, per Jackson and Chiang, who say that Duncan Robinson is more likely to be part of the package.
Heat president of basketball operations Pat Riley is a major advocate of going after Lowry, Jackson and Chiang add. If Miami doesn’t acquire Lowry this week, the team could target him in free agency.