Last week, it was reported that Kyle Lowry, revered guard of the Toronto Raptors, is on the trading block. Not only that, the Philadelphia Sixers appear to be on his short list of potential suitors, along with other championship caliber teams like the Los Angeles Clippers and Miami Heat. All three of these teams have a glaring commonality. They are in absolute win-now mode and fully understand that the addition of a playoff-proven asset such as Kyle Lowry could push their squads over the top.
If Toronto strikes a deal with Philly, the latter will have to provide ample compensation for obtaining Lowry. That compensation will likely entail a combination of future picks, young players, and veterans with expiring contracts (in order to match Lowry’s $30 million price tag).
Luckily, Philadelphia is able to accommodate all three of those potential trade factors. They should have no reservation giving up future first and second round picks as they expect these to be low value selections anyway while the team hopefully rides the prime years of Embiid and Simmons deep into the playoffs. The Sixers also possess young assets, most notably Tyrese Maxey and Matisse Thybulle, who would be on the table if a deal is negotiated. Finally, veteran guard Danny Green perfectly fits the mold of a veteran with an expiring contract as the former teammate of Lowry is owed around $15 million this season.
The NBA trade deadline isn’t until March 25th so the Raptors and Sixers have quite a while to work out the trade details if both parties are truly interested. I’m not suggesting that the Sixers should go all-in for Lowry if the price is too rich, but I do think Lowry’s skillset and playoff track record are near perfect compliments for what the Sixers have built this season.
The Resulting Sixers Squad
If a deal for Kyle Lowry gets done and Phildelpiha is able to hold onto all of its core pieces the resulting crunch time lineup is downright scary. Presumably the starting (and ending) five would be Kyle Lowry, Seth Curry, Ben Simmons, Tobias Harris, and Joel Embiid. This lineup would wreak havoc on defense through the play of Lowry, Simmons, and Embiid while featuring five players who can all get their own shot on the offensive end.
Of course, moves that improve starting lineups of ten come at the expense of bench depth and such would be the case here as well. Maxey and Thybulle are both important bench contributors for the Sixers and it would be a substantial loss if both of these players were included in a Lowry deal. Even so, I think the opportunity outways the disadvantages considering how powerful the above lineup is.
Reservations for Lowry
All of this trade speculation only has the potential to be realized if Lowry decides he legitimately wants out of Toronto. While this information has been reported, we haven’t yet heard from Lowry himself. It’s prudent to remember that Lowry is considered the greatest player in Raptors franchise history. While the team has had more prolific stars such as Vince Carter and a year of Kwahi Leonard, none has displayed such persistent loyalty and love towards the city of Toronto.
Additionally, Kyle Lowry already has an NBA championship ring and consequently is less likely to be desperately ring-chasing down the stretch. Still, if Lowry desires a trade it seems probable that the Raptors franchise would willingly work with him to accomplish a deal. One league source even reported that the Raptors want to reward Lowry for his years of service by helping him secure an opportunity to win another NBA title.
The race to strike a deal with Toronto for Kyle Lowry should be a tight one, as the Sixers, Clippers, and Heat would all benefit in a huge way with the addition of the perennial all-star (he didn’t make it this year amid the Raptors’ rough opening stretch). It would almost be poetically fitting for Sixers current president of basketball operations Daryl Morey to get the trade done, considering that he actually sent Lowry to Toronto a decade back when the two were together in Houston.
Currently, questions of concern that swirl around this Sixers’ team are not about regular season performance. This squad will be judged by their success in the playoffs and a fearless leader like Kyle Lowry’s biggest contribution to the team would be his playoff experience and refusal to back down from a fight. Here’s to hoping the Sixers can get a deal done.