Hornets Trade Rozier To Heat For Lowry, First-Round Pick

1:30pm: The trade is official, according to announcements from both the Hornets and Heat.

“I want to thank Terry for all his efforts since coming to Charlotte,” Hornets president of basketball operations Mitch Kupchak said in a statement. “On the court, he was a true professional and a great competitor who set a positive example for our young players. He also made himself a staple of the Charlotte community with his commitment to giving back. We wish him all the best in the future.

“The acquisition of a future first-round pick provides us an asset as we look to build long-term sustainable success around our young core of talented players. We believe adding this future pick and the additional financial flexibility from this trade will be beneficial as we continue to build our team moving forward.”

9:13am: The Hornets are trading guard Terry Rozier to the Heat in exchange for Kyle Lowry and Miami’s 2027 first-round pick, sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link). Shams Charania of The Athletic first reported (via Twitter) that the two teams were closing in on a deal.

The 2027 first-rounder will be lottery protected, according to Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). If it lands in the top 14 of the ’27 draft, the Heat would keep it and would instead send the Hornets their unprotected 2028 first-round pick, Fischer adds.

Rozier is in the midst of a career year. His 23.2 points and 6.6 assists per game through 30 appearances (35.5 MPG) are both career highs, as is his 45.9% field goal percentage.

While the 29-year-old has played a key role in Charlotte in recent years – starting all 298 games he has played for the team since 2019 – the 10-31 Hornets are far from contention, so it makes sense for the team to move on from him and recoup future assets.

Fischer reported last week that Rozier had a “known preference” to end up in Miami if he were to be traded this season. According to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald (Twitter link), Rozier’s favorite player growing up was Heat star Dwyane Wade.

The Heat have had a solid first half despite dealing with injuries to several starters and rotation players — they currently sit in a tie for the sixth seed in the East, with a 24-19 record. Still, the club could use the sort of offensive punch that Rozier will provide. Miami’s 113.4 offensive rating ranks just 20th in the NBA and 10th among Eastern teams.

Rozier is earning approximately $23.2MM this season, while Lowry is on a $29.7MM expiring contract, so the deal will save the Heat a substantial chunk of money in the short term. In addition to trimming its 2023/24 team salary, Miami will reduce its projected luxury tax bill by approximately $15MM and will move well below the second tax apron, as cap experts Yossi Gozlan and Bobby Marks observe (Twitter links).

The move will add some money to the Heat’s books in future seasons, however. Whereas Lowry will reach free agency this offseason, Rozier is owed $24.9MM in 2024/25, and his $26.6MM cap hit for ’25/26 features a significant partial guarantee ($24.9MM).

The Hornets, meanwhile, will create some cap flexibility for future seasons by moving Rozier’s multiyear deal for Lowry’s expiring contract. As Gozlan points out (via Twitter), the team could generate approximately $45MM in cap room this summer.

However, Charlotte likely isn’t done dealing and remains in asset accumulation mode, as Wojnarowski tweets. Miles Bridges, P.J. Washington, and Gordon Hayward are among the other veteran candidates on the Hornets’ roster. Additionally, the front office is expected to see if it can flip Lowry in another trade before the February 8 deadline, sources tell Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

Lowry won’t have positive trade value on his own, but his expiring money may appeal to a team looking to move off a player on a multiyear deal. The Hornets could potentially extract an asset or two if they’re willing to take back an unwanted contract.

If no trade emerges for Lowry, he’d be a buyout candidate after the trade deadline. Because his salary is above the mid-level exception, the 37-year-old wouldn’t be permitted to sign with a team whose salary is above either tax apron. He’d also be ineligible to return to Miami.

It’s worth noting that the Heat owe a lottery-protected 2025 first-round pick to Oklahoma City and can’t leave themselves without first-rounders in consecutive drafts, due to the Stepien rule. So if that ’25 pick lands in the lottery, Miami would owe the Thunder an unprotected 2026 first-round selection and would send Charlotte its unprotected 2028 first-rounder.

The Heat will create a $6,477,319 trade exception in the swap — that’s the difference between Lowry’s outgoing salary and Rozier’s incoming cap charge.

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