Kyle Lowry has officially opted out of the final year of what would have been a 12-million-dollar contract to try his hand at free agency. While most would see this as him leveraging being a two-time all-star to get more money from the Toronto Raptors, it is very possible that he moves on from Toronto to test new waters. Lowry averaged a career high last season with 22.4 points per game and a ridiculous 41% from three on 7.8 attempts per game. It is most likely that Lowry will seek a max-level deal which could be a reason the Toronto Raptors do not re-sign him.
Kyle Lowry Free Agent Destinations
The first option would be for Lowry to re-kindle his bromance with DeMar DeRozan and re-sign with the Toronto Raptors. This starting back-court has been nothing short of dominant in the past four years but are yet to find much playoff success, only reaching as far as the Eastern Conference Finals last season. After getting swept by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the second round and President of Basketball Operations Masai Ujiri stating “Toronto needs a culture change” during his end of the year press conference; this is actually looking more and more unlikely. It would not be a roster overhaul as Toronto would still have DeRozan, but loosing Lowry would certainly make Toronto a lot less frightening.
Re-signing Lowry would limit what the Toronto Raptor’s front-office could do this offseason. If they choose to pass they could look into getting a younger and more versatile star in their quest to beat LeBron James. Gordon Hayward or Paul George to Toronto anyone? Probably not; but letting Lowry go somewhere else would give Ujiri this option.
This would be the less extravagant Lebron James to Cleveland narrative and the same reason everyone thought Kevin Durant would be going to Washington last summer. Lowry’s hometown of Philadelphia is desperate for a point-guard and all the cap room in the world to spend. Lowry spends lots of time in the offseason back home in Philadelphia and has often been seen with the “Just a Young Kid From Philly” sweater when playing the Philadelphia 76ers. It should surprise nobody should Lowry sign with Philadelphia despite the fact that at first glance they would still barely be a playoff team.
The current point guard options for Philadelphia are not exactly elite. Undrafted free-agent T.J. McConnell and Sergio Rodriguez got most of the minutes at point in the later parts of the season. Lowry would immediately fill a need for Philadelphia and could be a good leader for this young team. They ranked 25th in the league in three-point percentage at a lowly 34% and would greatly benefit from an elite shooter like Kyle Lowry.
San Antonio Spurs
This one might be a bit of a long shot, but if Lowry wants to win a title this is perhaps his best choice. He would be playing for the legendary Gregg Popovich on a team that is elite despite having a very below point guard in the aging Tony Parker. And when Parker is not playing San Antonio either have rookie Dejounte Murray or Patty Mills as the primary ball-handler. It is safe to say that Lowry would be a massive upgrade on all three of these players for San Antonio. The combination of Lowry and Kawhi Leonard would be devastating on both ends of the floor. Lowry is an outstanding three-point shooter despite the fact that a lot of his attempts are contested. He would presumably get tons of open looks in that fluid San Antonio offence.
Although Golden State might still be the big dogs in the Western Conference, Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, Andre Iguodala and Klay Thompson all have less than two years left on their contracts. While Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge and Pau Gasol are all on big contracts, the Spurs can use their bird rights on Leonard and then fill out their roster with veteran minimum and rookie contracts in order to sign Lowry.
Toronto Raptors Kyle Lowry (L) runs by Orlando Magic Victor Oladipo during the NBA Global Game London 2016 basketball match between Orlando Magic and Toronto Raptors at the O2 Arena in London on January 14, 2016. AFP PHOTO / GLYN KIRK / AFP / GLYN KIRK (Photo credit should read GLYN KIRK/AFP/Getty Images)