Kyle Lowry

Eastern Notes: Simmons, Nets’ Rotation, Heat, Trade Deadline

With former All-Star guard Ben Simmons expected to return this season, John Schuhmann of NBA.com examines how he may fit with the Nets. Brooklyn acquired Simmons in a deal with the Sixers featuring James Harden last season, but he didn’t play due to mental health concerns, both mental and physical.

The Nets will likely consider starting Kyrie Irving, Seth Curry, Kevin Durant and Nicolas Claxton. That places the 6’11” Simmons at power forward, playing between Durant and Claxton. His defensive versatility and passing could allow him to play a role similar to the one Draymond Green plays in Golden State, especially given that he’ll have some of the league’s best shooters (Irving, Curry, Durant, Joe Harris and Patty Mills) around him.

Green, however, can spread the floor. He’s not a great three-point shooter, but opposing defenses have respected him enough. On the other hand, Simmons has made just five three-pointers in his career. It’ll be important for Brooklyn to play in transition this season. The team will likely feature Simmons in the dunker’s spot and play him on the ball, though it’s also possible he plays some minutes at center.

Here are some other notes from the East:

  • Brian Lewis of the New York Post projects the Nets‘ rotation. As mentioned previously, Brooklyn has flexibility and could play Simmons at the four or five. The team also has weapons such as Mills, Harris, Royce O’Neale and T.J. Warren.
  • Heat legend Tim Hardaway defended Kyle Lowry over allegations that he weighed too much this season, Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel writes. Lowry still managed to have a respectable season, though he dealt with an injury throughout the playoffs that limited his availability and effectiveness.
  • In his latest “Ask Ira” mailbag, Ira Winderman examines whether the Heat may be active ahead of the trade deadline this year. Heat president Pat Riley is known for being open to making major changes, but Miami decided to stand pat this offseason (except for losing P.J. Tucker to Philadelphia). Since Miami has multiple undersized options at power forward, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the team make a trade — even though it has plenty of talent.

Eastern Notes: Lowry, Murray, Banchero, Grant, Turner

Kyle Lowry‘s name has surfaced in trade rumors, mainly due to the Heat’s interest in Kevin Durant. In a recent podcast with longtime NBA All-Star Vince Carter, Lowry says he doesn’t feel the need to address trade talk (hat tip to Anthony Chiang and Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald).

“I hear it. I don’t respond to it,” Lowry said. “I have my social media, but I’m not even on my social media right now, to be honest with you. I only did this interview because you’re my man.”

Lowry’s salary could prove valuable if Miami is successful in dealing for Durant or another high-priced star such as Donovan Mitchell. Lowry, who is entering the second year of a three-year, $85MM contract, has not considered retirement, saying he’ll play “until I can’t.”

“This is how I think personally. When you tell your brain something, it starts to do it,” he said. “So for me, I’ll say: ‘I’m going until I can’t.’ Why not? Until I don’t want to wake up at 5 or 6 in the morning to go work out.”

We have more from the Eastern Conference:

  • New Hawks guard Dejounte Murray and the draft’s top pick, the Magic’s Paolo Banchero, exchanged words on and off the court after taking the court at Isaiah Thomas‘ annual summer pro-am, Kurt Helin of NBC Sports relays. Murray faked out Banchero before doing a self alley-oop, then took to social media to give the rookie more grief. Banchero responded by saying that Murray had unfollowed him, while adding some choices words of his own.
  • When the Pistons signed Jerami Grant to a three-year contract two years ago as a free agent, many observers were baffled as to why the rebuilding team took that route. In hindsight, it worked out quite well for Detroit, Keith Langlois of Pistons.com writes. Grant’s professionalism and work ethic rubbed off on the Pistons’ young players and the subsequent trade with Portland this summer helped GM Troy Weaver make a draft-night deal for lottery pick Jalen Duren.
  • Despite being the subject of trade rumors for months, Pacers center Myles Turner loves Indiana and is excited to play with Tyrese Haliburton, according to HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto. Haliburton is the first true pass-first point guard Turner has played with, Scotto notes. Turner is entering his walk year and will be an unrestricted free agent next summer.

Atlantic Notes: Brunson, Irving, Raptors

As the NBA continues its investigation into the timing of the Knicks‘ free agent acquisition of point guard Jalen BrunsonFred Katz of The Athletic parses through the extant evidence. Rumors ahead of 2022 free agency suggested Brunson would leave the Mavericks for the Knicks to the tune of a fresh four-year, $104MM deal. When that chatter proved to be true, the league opted to look into just what transpired, and when.

Katz notes that it’s difficult to discern just what kind of pre-free agency conversations the NBA will frown upon, in part given the fact that Jalen’s father, former New York point guard Rick Brunson, was hired as an assistant coach under Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau in June. Knicks team president Leon Rose, once an NBA agent representing Rick, has known both Brunsons for decades.

Last year, the league opted to penalize the Bulls and Heat for what it perceived to be tampering violations in their 2021 sign-and-trade moves for Lonzo Ball and Kyle Lowry, respectively. Each team was forced to surrender an upcoming second-round pick. This year, in addition to the Knicks, the NBA is also investigating the Sixers for possible tampering violations.

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:

  • When Nets point guard Kyrie Irving returned to his native New Jersey for his pro-am “More Than A Run” All-Star Game at Kean University, Brooklyn made a point to showcase the moment on the team’s official social media platforms. In an effort to read the tea leaves, Adam Zagoria of NJ.com suggests that it appears to be increasingly possible Irving returns to Brooklyn this fall, rather than being offloaded in a trade ahead of the season. Kyrie’s teammates Kessler Edwards, David Duke Jr., and Royce O’Neale were all in attendance at the New Jersey event.
  • Heat point guard Kyle Lowry, at some point during his successful run with the Raptors, attempted to lure Vince Carter back to Toronto, Lowry revealed on Carter’s podcast The Vince Carter Show (Twitter video link via Uninterrupted Canada). “I tried to get Vince back with us at one point,” Lowry said. “We had conversations,” Carter confirmed. “We tried to get it done, it didn’t work out,” Lowry continued. “I was one of the biggest advocates that tried to get him back in Toronto and Vince was all-in.” It is unclear exactly when this recruitment transpired, but presumably this came fairly late in Carter’s illustrious career. The Raptors originally drafted Carter with the fifth pick out of North Carolina. The 6’6″ wing was named to his first five All-Star teams while with Toronto, before eventually being traded to the Nets in the midst of what was to be his sixth consecutive All-Star season in 2004/05. An eight-time All-Star overall, Carter would go on to play for an NBA-record 22 seasons. He finally retired at age 43 in 2020, following a two-year stint as a bench role player with the Hawks.
  • In case you missed it, 6’11” Serbian power forward/center Filip Petrusev, who was drafted with the No. 50 pick by the Sixers in 2021, expressed confidence in Philadelphia’s developmental plan for him. Petrusev, a native Serbian, will suit up for Serbian club Crvena Zvezda during the 2022/23 season.

Heat Notes: Lowry, Crowder, Yurtseven, Jovic

Heat point guard Kyle Lowry still won’t reveal the specifics of the family situation that caused him to miss nine games in January and February, and he tells Doug Smith of The Toronto Star that it hasn’t been fully resolved. Lowry said the issue continued to be a distraction even after he resumed playing.

“It’s definitely something that kind of derailed my whole season and kept me derailed for a long time,” Lowry said. “Still to this day, it’s still something I deal with every single day, I actually got a phone call just now about it. It’s life, life happens and you just have to continue to get better and focus on the things you can control and try to help as best you can because at the end of the day, I can’t do this or that, all I can do is go to people who can help me and hopefully I can help them and we can kind of work together and collaborate.”

Lowry was in Toronto today to take part in the Nick Nurse Foundation golf tournament. Even though he chose to leave the Raptors in free agency last summer, Lowry has remained friendly with his former coach.

“Nick’s a friend of mine and we got closer and closer and as the years went on we trusted each other more and more,” Lowry said. “To keep a relationship with a guy like him, obviously I’m here for a reason, he’s such a great man, he’s helped me in my career tremendously and all I can do is try to give back as much to him as he’s given to me.”

There’s more on the Heat:

  • Miami would be interested in bringing back versatile forward Jae Crowder, but there’s no easy way to match salaries in a trade with the Suns, tweets Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Crowder, who is entering the final year of his contract, raised some eyebrows this week when he tweeted“Change is inevitable.. Growth is optional.!! I believe its time for a change… I wanna continue growing!” Although Crowder doesn’t specify that he’s talking about basketball, the message has led to speculation that he wants to play somewhere else.
  • Omer Yurtseven will have to improve defensively to earn regular playing time, per Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. Winderman adds that the Heat view Yurtseven as a backup to starting center Bam Adebayo, but he’ll have to compete with Dewayne Dedmon for those minutes.
  • First-round pick Nikola Jovic won’t play for the Serbian national team in the World Cup qualifier or EuroBasket, according to Winderman (Twitter link). Jovic will focus on preparing for Miami’s training camp, which starts in late September. Yurtseven is also expected to bypass international competitions with Turkey (Twitter link).

Latest On Kevin Durant

After speaking to “a couple” NBA general managers, Marc J. Spears of ESPN (video link via Talkin NBA) outlined during an appearance on NBA Today what sort of return the Nets are seeking as they explore the trade market for Kevin Durant.

“A young or future All-Star,” Spears said, “lots of picks, the ability to swap picks, and another starter.”

Spears went on to say that Durant “might not have as much control of the situation as one would think,” not only because he has four years left on his contract but because there are so many teams involved in the bidding. According to Spears, about half the league’s clubs remain interested.

Here’s more on Durant:

  • Sam Amick of The Athletic explains that Phoenix is Durant’s preferred destination in part because of his close relationship with Monty Williams, who was an assistant for the Thunder in 2015/16. The bond between the two men grew deeper after Williams’ wife was killed in a car accident in February 2016, Amick writes.
  • While Phoenix may be atop Durant’s wish list, Amick has gotten the sense that the Nets would want something more – or something “different” – than a Suns package headlined by Deandre Ayton and Mikal Bridges. Cameron Johnson is a player who might help move the needle for the Nets, Amick adds. However, John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 (Twitter link) suggests that any deal between the Suns and Nets would likely see Phoenix giving up the maximum amount of first-round picks (four) and pick swaps (three).
  • The Heat are also on Durant’s wish list, but Amick says the former MVP would only want to play on a Miami team that features Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, and Kyle Lowry. Amick is understandably skeptical that a package centered around Tyler Herro would gain any momentum.
  • The Nets have been “emboldened” by the returns in the Rudy Gobert and Dejounte Murray trades, which both included multiple unprotected first-round picks, Adrian Wojnarowski said during an appearance on ESPN’s televised NBA Free Agency Special on Friday evening. Wojnarowski added that he doesn’t believe the Nets are in any rush to make a deal, since they want to fully assess all their options.
  • Wojnarowski also said during ESPN’s NBA Free Agency Special (video link) that he believes the Raptors are “lurking” as a possible suitor for Durant, given their combination of players and draft picks, as well as their track record for making this sort of deal (for Kawhi Leonard in 2018).

Heat Rumors: Tucker, Portis, Lowry, Crowder

Heat players are reportedly lobbying free agent forward P.J. Tucker to remain with the team, according to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald, who says All-Star wing Jimmy Butler, in particular, is “very much hoping” Tucker returns to Miami.

However, James Harden‘s decision to opt out of a $47MM+ salary for next season and likely sign a new deal starting at a lower number is the latest indication that the Sixers are a serious threat to lure Tucker to Philadelphia. Harden’s move clears a path for Philadelphia to offer its full mid-level exception to Tucker.

If Tucker does leave, the Heat will be in the market for a power forward, and T.J. Warren, Kyle Anderson, Thaddeus Young, and Nicolas Batum will be among the free agents on their radar, Jackson writes. A Wednesday report indicated the club would likely also have interest in Danilo Gallinari if he’s waived after being traded by San Antonio.

Here’s more on the Heat:

  • Jackson hears from a source that Miami would be a team that appeals to Bobby Portis if he decides to leave Milwaukee. But Portis is considered likely to stick with the Bucks, while the Heat are reluctant to hard-cap themselves for the season by giving their full mid-level exception to a free agent, so it’s an unlikely match.
  • Jackson also hears that Kyle Lowry wasn’t upset by Pat Riley‘s end-of-season comments about how his conditioning must improve. The Heat have assured Lowry they have no intention of trading him in a deal for Kyrie Irving, Jackson adds.
  • After saying that the Heat had emerged as the frontrunners to trade for Suns forward Jae Crowder, John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 (Twitter links) walked back that report. As Gambadoro explains, he can’t see Phoenix taking on Duncan Robinson‘s contract, and the Heat don’t have any other obvious salary-matching pieces they’d include in an offer for Crowder.

Heat Notes: Lowry, Yurtseven, Collins, Morris

The Heat made a massive gamble in signing-and-trading for 36-year-old former All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry during the 2021 offseason. Lowry’s leadership, passing ability and defensive moxie helped Miami knock on the door of its second NBA Finals appearance in three seasons this year, but the team’s 2022 draft will be negatively impacted by the signing, writes Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel.

The league penalized Miami for apparently reaching a deal with Lowry before free agency opened, taking away the Heat’s 2022 second-round draft pick. Miami will not have a second-round draft pick until the 2028 season, though the team has had plenty of recent success in signing undrafted free agent rookies.

“Of course it’s disappointing to lose an asset,” said Heat vice president of basketball operations Adam Simon. “You can acquire a player on the night of the draft, and then have him under contact, versus waiting on players that don’t get drafted and then hoping that you can talk the agent into delivering them to you. So certainly having a pick, a late pick, it helps.”

Winderman notes that Miami also has not had the benefit of a second-round selection in five of the last six drafts.

Across 63 contests with Miami during the regular season, Lowry averaged 13.4 PPG, 7.5 APG and 4.5 RPG. He posted shooting splits of .440/.377/.851. Injuries limited Lowry to appearing in just 10 of 18 playoff contests.

There’s more out of South Beach:

  • Due to obligations with the Turkish national basketball team, Heat reserve center Omer Yurtseven will most likely not play in Summer League games for Miami, per Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald“I have to go to the national team. So if that takes me away from summer league, I might not be able to,” Yurtseven said. In 10 consecutive starts in December and January prior to Bam Adebayo‘s return from a thumb injury, Yurtseven averaged 13.6 PPG, 13.9 RPG and 2.9 APG. By the playoffs, however, he was out of the rotation. Yurtseven, 24, is optimistic about what he was able to show with the club when he did play. “I was given an opportunity and took full advantage of it for that six-week stretch,” he said. “Then afterwards, just stayed the course, stayed professional and did my job and stayed ready.”
  • Though the Heat enjoyed a relatively successful 2021/22 NBA season, they fell short of their ultimate goal: their first championship since 2013. Miami fell in seven games to the Celtics in a hotly-contested Eastern Conference Finals series. The club may look to make some significant personnel tweaks during the 2022 offseason. Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald wonders if athletic Hawks power forward John Collins could be a solid fit in the Miami frontcourt alongside Adebayo.
  • Heat reserve big man Markieff Morris lost his place in the team’s rotation following a major neck injury that kept him out for most of the 2021/22 season, his first with Miami. Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel speculates on whether or not Morris may ultimately decide to return to the Heat as an unrestricted free agent this summer.

Pat Riley Address Offseason, Herro, Lowry, Tucker, Retirement

Heat president Pat Riley is generally happy with the current roster but is open to acquiring another impact player if the right trade comes along, Nick Friedell of ESPN relays.

“I like the team that we have,” Riley said. “I like the core, so let’s see where we can go internally and let’s see where we can go if something presents itself. If that’s a viable option.”

As for acquiring another star, Riley wants to make sure that player will fit into the team’s culture, not to mention future payroll, Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald writes.

“If there’s something from outside that unveils itself that doesn’t cost us an arm and a leg, I would always be interested in looking at that,” he said. “But I think we have what we need internally.”

Riley held his annual postseason press conference on Monday. Friedell and Chiang have the details on numerous topics that Riley addressed:

  • Responding to Sixth Man of the Year Tyler Herro expressing his desire to become a starter, Riley said he’s got to earn it by improving defensively. “He’s 22, he’s 21, 22 years old so the next step for him, and I think we’re seeing this in the league, if you want to win a championship, and you want to be a starter, you really have to become a two-way player today,” Riley said. “And you have to improve in certain areas of your game.”
  • Kyle Lowry needs to improve his conditioning, in Riley’s assessment. “The bottom line with me and for me as far as hoping that you can get the most out of a player — is that you got to be in world-class shape. You just have to be,” he said.
  • P.J. Tucker has a $7.35MM player option for 2022/23 and if he turns it down, Riley will try to re-sign the veteran forward. “P.J. is a cornerstone,” Riley said. “I would love to have Tuck back next year. He’s part of our core. He’s special.”
  • The sting of losing Game 7 to Boston in the Eastern Conference Finals hasn’t dissipated. “We have a lot of real experienced veterans and so we put together a team that got to the Eastern Conference finals and it was bitter, it was a bitter loss,” he said. “The dragon hasn’t actually left my body yet from that loss.”
  • Retirement is not on Riley’s agenda. “I’m 77 years old and right now I can do more pushups than you can do right now,” he said.

Heat Notes: Lowry, Butler, Tucker, Strus

Kyle Lowry looks at the Heat’s loss in the conference finals as a “waste” of a season, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald writes. Lowry missed eight postseason games due to a hamstring injury and struggled to regain the form that made him so effective in Toronto.

“I wish I would have been able to play a little bit better, at a higher level, but I didn’t,” Lowry said. “It just adds fuel. You don’t know how many more opportunities you will have to get back to this, so for me, honestly it was a waste of a year. “I only play to win championships. It was fun, and I appreciate my teammates, and I appreciate the opportunity. But for me, it’s a waste of a year. You’re… not winning a championship, it’s a wasted year.”

Lowry has two years left on his three-year, $85MM contract.

We have more on the Heat:

  • Jimmy Butler scored a combined 82 points in Games 6 and 7 but the Heat still came up short. He vows that Miami will be back in the Eastern Conference Finals again next season, according to Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press. “We had enough (pieces),” Butler said. “Next year, we will have enough and we’re going to be right back in the same situation, and we’re going to get it done.”
  • P.J. Tucker only played 17 minutes in Game 7 and coach Erik Spoelstra hinted it was injury-related, Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald tweets. Tucker had been listed on the injury report with left knee irritation but it’s unclear if that was the issue. Tucker can opt out of his $7.35MM contract for next season and become a free agent this summer.
  • Max Strus had a 3-pointer overturned after several minutes of game action during the third quarter of Game 7. The NBA replay center in Secaucus, New Jersey deemed that Strus was out of bounds. Spoelsta was frustrated about the length of time between the shot and the overturn decision, Nick Friedell of ESPN writes. “I’m sure they will look at that, and we’ll probably be the case study for it,” Spoelstra said. “I’m OK if it happens the way it used to. They would look at it at the next foul or break and look at it and notice it, but it was probably 10 minutes of real time — somebody check on that.”

Heat Notes: Green, Butler, Wade, Game 7, Lowry

The Heat used Draymond Green‘s recent NBA Finals prediction as motivation to beat the Celtics on Friday and force a Game 7, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports writes. Green predicted his Warriors would face the Celtics after Golden State advanced this week, prompting several Heat players to respond.

“Draymond broke the code,” veteran Udonis Haslem said. “You ain’t supposed to say some s–t like that. That’s disrespectful. He know better than that.”

Heat forward P.J. Tucker also felt as if Green crossed a line with his comments.

“I don’t know what part of the game is that,” Tucker told Haynes. “A player picking a team before they’re out. That’s crazy, bro.”

Miami could advance to play Golden State in the Finals by defeating Boston on Sunday. The team is dealing with an array of injuries, but was led by Jimmy Butler‘s 47-point performance to win Game 6 on the road.

Here are some other notes from Miami:

  • The Heat also received motivation from Dwyane Wade, according to Nick Friedell of ESPN, who details how Butler used that motivation en route to his dominant Game 6. “He was telling me that I could do this,” Butler told ESPN, referring to how Wade called him before the game. “Knee a little banged up, but nobody cares. Go out there, continue to build your legacy. It meant the world to me, so I appreciate you D-Wade.” In addition to his 47 points, Butler also finished with nine rebounds, eight assists and four steals in 46 minutes.
  • Following the Heat’s Game 6 win, Butler expressed immediate confidence about the team’s chances in Game 7, as relayed by Keith Smith of Spotrac (Twitter link). “We knew we were going to win this one. And we’re going to win the next one too.”
  • Kyle Lowry‘s key performance in Game 6 seemingly came out of nowhere, Joe Vardon writes as part of a story for The Athletic. Lowry has been dealing with a hamstring strain for over a month, but he managed to record 18 points and 10 assists to keep the Heat’s season alive. “I’m never going to make an excuse,” Lowry said. “I played bad before. I have an opportunity to redeem myself. I got great guys in the locker room, great guys on our team, great organization, great people in my life who support me no matter what it is, ups, downs. They always say, ‘Just do you.’ Tonight was one of the chances that I think Coach said it, a legacy game.”