Pelicans To Pursue Kyle Lowry In Free Agency?

There’s rising buzz around the NBA that the Pelicans intend to enter the hunt for free agent point guard Kyle Lowry this offseason, league sources tell Marc Stein (Twitter link).

The Raptors are expected to make an effort to re-sign Lowry this summer, but figure to face competition from a number of teams, including some that tried to acquire the six-time All-Star at this year’s trade deadline, such as the Heat and Sixers.

The Pelicans don’t project to have the cap room necessary to make a serious bid for Lowry, but could pursue a sign-and-trade deal for the 35-year-old. New Orleans also could create some flexibility by letting one or both of their restricted free agents – Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart – walk, or by trading Eric Bledsoe and/or Steven Adams to reduce team salary.

The idea of the Pelicans going after Lowry may seem odd at first glance, since the veteran guard isn’t exactly on the same timeline as forwards Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram, who are 21 and 23, respectively. But New Orleans’ young stars could benefit from the leadership and guidance of a vet like Lowry. The longtime Raptor’s ability to either run the offense or to play off the ball and space the floor (he made 39.6% of his three-pointers this past season) would make him a nice fit to play alongside Williamson and Ingram.

Whether Lowry would reciprocate the Pelicans’ interest remains to be seen. Adding a player of his caliber would certainly raise the team’s floor, but New Orleans didn’t even qualify for a play-in spot in 2020/21, and Lowry presumably wants to play for a club that can realistically compete for a championship in the short term.

If the Pelicans are unable to land Lowry, it will be interesting to see if they make it a priority to acquire another veteran point guard. One fallback option could be Thunder guard Kemba Walker, who would likely be available for a relatively modest trade package — that’s just my speculation though.

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