Six-time All-Star and point guard for the Toronto Raptors, Kyle Lowry, is seeking $30 million per year in a multi-year deal as a free agent, according to reports.
Lowry, a 16-year veteran, has been North of the border for the past nine seasons and has garnered enough sentiment to be considered one of, if not the greatest Raptor of all time.
Toronto’s main man is among a class of free agent point guards that includes Chris Paul, Mike Conley Jr., Lonzo Ball, and others throughout the league; but at 35-years old, his value is nowhere near as high as he and his team seem to think it is.
Kyle Lowry’s Value: The Good
Starting with the positives here— Lowry has made six All-Star teams, one all-NBA third-team, won an Olympic Gold Medal in 2016, and was crowned NBA Champion in 2019. He also had a successful college career at Villanova, eventually getting his number-one jersey retired before leaving for the NBA.
Since becoming a full-time starter in 2010, Lowry has averaged double-digit points and at least six assists per game, with highs of 22.4 and 8.7 along the way. He is Toronto’s all-time leader in assists and steals and is second in points, behind former teammate DeMar DeRozan.
The 6-foot guard also started on a Finals-winning team in 2019 alongside Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard, Pascal Siakam, and Marc Gasol, ending the narrative that he could never top the mountain of NBA basketball.
Kyle Lowry’s Value: The Bad
For all of the accolades and acclaim that Lowry has received over his lengthy career, he has been extremely overrated.
Aside from the lone championship run, Lowry has only reached the Conference Final one time, where he fell to the LeBron James-led Cleveland Cavaliers in six games. He has been sent home in the first round twice and swept three times in eight years of postseason action which is a poor return for a player with such a great reputation.
Looking closer at Lowry’s 2019 NBA Finals triumph, he was a passenger on a team that had a favorable matchup against an injury-riddled Golden State Warriors team that was minus Kevin Durant and later lost Klay Thompson. Lowry finished the 2018-19 postseason third in scoring on his team and played third fiddle to Leonard and Siakam, the former of which took home Finals MVP.
Now that he is 35-years old, Lowry offers little for a franchise looking to compete for years to come or grow into the future; he has not kept himself in the best shape and has dealt with injuries for three consecutive seasons, both of which do not bode well for an aging veteran that played just under 35 minutes per game last year.
Looking beyond the statistics, Lowry has never been the top-dog on a team that has accomplished anything noteworthy— in fact, he has never been the primary option on a team that reached the playoffs, defaulting to Leonard, DeRozan, or Siakam in recent runs.
Lowry did not start a single game in his one postseason appearance as a Houston Rocket.
Where Is Lowry’s Future?
It is hard to see Lowry getting a payout anywhere near his asking price, especially for a contender that is already strapped for cash. The Miami Heat, Los Angeles Lakers, and Philadelphia 76ers have been mentioned as potential landing spots, but none of them seem feasible at this time.
The Heat are the most feasible landing spot for the longtime Raptor, though they would have to finagle the cap; they are expected to have just over $20 million in space but could clear as much as $33.3 million. They would likely have to part with Duncan Robinson, Tyler Herro, or one of their veterans to make room, and with the Heat’s close-knit culture and recent Finals appearance without Lowry, it is unlikely that they grant his $30 million annual tag.
The Lakers have been floated around since the trade deadline last year when Lowry thought that he was on his way out of town. LA is in the market for a point guard and is in championship-or-bust mode, but Lowry’s 34.2% career average from three does not fit the mold of surrounding LeBron and Anthony Davis with shooters. The purple and gold has also made a complete mess of their situation under the cap and would have to generate significant roster turnover to acquire the 35-year-old.
The 76ers would make sense tactically, but not with massive hits coming from Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, and Tobias Harris, it is almost impossible to imagine a scenario in which they fit Lowry onto their roster, even if they succeed in dealing Ben Simmons to a new team.
Any way you cut it, Lowry is not getting $30 million from a team that he would want to go to. If he is only looking for one last huge payout in his career, his best bet is to stay put in Toronto; if he wants to compete for a chip, then he needs to accept that he is only worth half of his valuation.
NBA free agency officially starts on August 2nd at 6:00 p.m. ET, and Lowry will be a priority target for many top clubs looking to push themselves over the edge. Expect Toronto’s fan-favorite to be in a new location by the time the regular season tips off.
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