Kyle Lowry is 34 years old. He turns 35 in 2 weeks. He is on the last year of an expiring contract, making 30 million dollars this season. He will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason. If you are Daryl Morey and the 76ers you absolutely try to trade for him.
However, there is no concrete or clear evidence that Lowry is even available though. Keith Pompey, of the Philadelphia Inquire, did write an article saying that Philly could be an option if Lowry would want to move on from Toronto. Lowry’s agent, in response. said Kyle was not “pushing for a trade to Philadelphia”. Lowry also just sold his house in Toronto, so speculate all you’d like with that.
NBA trade season will always have its fair share of rumors and gossip, there is no denying that. And while the rumors about Lowry being on the trade block may not be true, there are still reasons why the Raptors would trade Lowry. The Raptors are currently 17-19 and sit in the 8th seed in the Eastern Conference, Lowry is an impending free agent and they just signed Fred VanVleet to a long-term deal. If the Raptors know that Kyle is leaving this offseason, don’t believe they can truly compete this year, and want to get some sort of assets for Lowry, the deadline is the time to do it.
Assuming that the rumors are true and Lowry is available, should the 76ers have interest? And what would it take? Those are the two big questions that need to be answered if you are Daryl Morey and company.
Let’s first dive into what it would take. Tim Bontemps of ESPN recently suggested in an article a trade that would land Lowry in Philadelphia with Tyrese Maxey, Andre Drummond (from Cleaveland), and picks going to Toronto. This raises the question, does Lowry command that type of return? And if so, is it worth it for the 76ers?
That is a question that at this time I am not sure I can answer. I will explain later, but Lowry is the move that I believe significantly changes the 76ers chances at a championship, but there is an aspect of giving up too much for a guy who is at the backend of his career, and expiring. Using some conversations from today, and with help from the great Marty Teller (@mwteller) and Dan Morgan (@dansaysthat), of Process Potables and Last Out Media, the conclusion came that it should be one first-round pick and Tyrese Maxey for Lowry.
We can sit and argue all we want about what the team should or shouldn’t give up for Lowry. Ultimately, Daryl Morey, Elton Brand, Doc Rivers, and company will be the ones making that decision, and I have faith that they will make the correct decision. So onto the fun part, why should the 76ers trade for Kyle Lowry?
Let me preference this with saying that I think the 76ers are legit title contenders. Joel Embiid is a complete dominant force in the league right now and looks to be unstoppable. Ben Simmons is playing at the highest level we have seen, especially defensively, and Tobias Harris is playing like an All-Star and is on pace for a 50/40/90 shooting season averaging 20 points per game. The foundation is there, and complementing them with the right piece or pieces could really put them over the top. And that piece, in my opinion, is Kyle Lowry.
I understand that the Nets are really good, and the offensive firepower they have is scary. But I don’t believe they are unbeatable, and I don’t think the 76ers should act like they are. I believe that if Kyle Lowry is available it’s the move the 76ers should make.
Although Lowry is aging, his game isn’t aging as you would think. Currently, he is averaging 18-6-7 and shooting 40% from three on seven attempts per game, which would be a huge upgrade to the 76er’s starting lineup. Lowry also brings more than just stats to the team, he can be a leader and a veteran ball-handler that the Sixers so desperately need, especially during crunch time in the playoffs.
But how does he fit, especially with Ben who commands the ball? I think it is pretty clear that the team has been trying to add another guard/ball-handler with Ben, they’ve just consistently failed. Simmons, despite the lack of shooting, is actually really good off-ball (I wrote about it prior to the bubble, you can read it here), and having a veteran guard who can not only create but facilitate will be huge for this team. Ben’s screen setting, rolling, cutting, and rim gravity should be on full display if you can pair a guy like Lowry next to him.
As far as Joel and Lowry, having any guard that can create and pass out of a pick and roll for the big man will only help. The percentage and volume Lowry is shooting will help space the floor for when Joel is in the post, and Kyle is the kind of initiator that can help Joel get a better position with his ability to pass into the post.
Ultimately, the fit to me is perfect, and Lowry brings an aspect to the Sixers that they have lacked for a while, in another ball-handler to play with Joel and Ben. Lowry is the type of player that can adapt his game to make other players around him better and has a ton of playoff and championship experience that he brings with him.
Finally, we need to address the elephant in the room that is Lowry’s age and expiring contract. Should a team give up assets for a soon-to-be 35-year-old, smaller guard, who will be a free agent come season’s end?
As far as the expiring contract, trading for Kyle would come with bird rights, so the Sixers would be able to offer Kyle any size contract, regardless of cap space, and only have to worry about paying the tax. When it comes to spending money and going into the tax, to this point, 76ers ownership has shown a willingness to do so to win. If Daryl Morey were to come to them and say extending Lowry will get them that much closer to a championship, I don’t see saying no.
But, should they extend a 35-year-old Lowry? If they trade for him the answer is yes. Too often than not we see guys get older and lose a step, or lose some athleticism and then really can’t find a place in the league. Lowry has a game that, in my opinion, hasn’t aged like we are used too, and won’t drop off too quickly. He plays under control and smart and has a high enough basketball IQ to contribute on the court even if he is half a step slower on his first step or losing some inches on his vertical. Lowry can still be a contributor to a championship team late in his career.
In the end, no one knows if Lowry will be available or if the Sixers will have the firepower to get him at the deadline. I do believe that if they can pull it off, it increased their championship odds exponentially. Lowry is the type of deadline move that will get a contender over the top and pairing him with a Joel Embiid, that is having a historically dominant season, Ben Simmons, and Tobias Harris would do just that, in my humble opinion.
In life and in the NBA if you want to be great you have to recognize timing and pair it with the correct moves to get you to the next level. The timing, in my opinion, to strike is now, and the move is Lowry if available. Does Daryl Morey and the Sixers’ brass agree with me though?