Despite what is a great stretch of games by Kyle Lowry, the Toronto Raptors front office is apparently still not closed to the idea of trading away their starting point guard for fear of losing him for nothing when he hits free agency after this season.
Marc Stein of ESPN shared a tweet on Sunday night, implying that the Raptors, despite recent success lately and the fact that they are at third place in the Eastern Conference, are not done wheeling and dealing this season to shore up their roster more for the future rather than contend in 2014.
Trade rumble: Sense around league remains Toronto more likely to trade Kyle Lowry than keep him to prevent losing asset for nothing. But ...
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) January 27, 2014
Issue here hasn't changed: No team out there willing YET to meet Raps' asking price for PG who, nice as he's playin, can bolt in free agency — Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) January 27, 2014
The fear of losing him for nothing translates to other front offices’ as well. Acquiring Lowry now means they’d be getting a “rental player” and would do the convincing when he becomes a free agent in the summer.
However, there are other teams who may be interested in Lowry’s services: the playoff contenders.
Two teams come to mind, the Brooklyn Nets, which are starting to turn it around this year; and the Los Angeles Lakers, albeit out of the playoff race for now but which status can change when Kobe Bryant returns.
Via the ESPN Trade Machine below are the trade possibilities which involve a Lowry deal with the Lakers and Nets:
Toronto Raptors-Los Angeles Lakers Trade K. Lowry ($6.21M) + A. Johnson ($6.5M) + T. Hansbrough ($3.18M) for P. Gasol ($19M) + Future 1st Round Pick
Logic for the Raptors: They unload the longer contracts of Johnson and Hansbrough and get the 19 million expiring contract of Pau. The future first is a plus for their rebuilding process.
Logic for the Lakers: Kobe wants to compete year-in and year-out. With Lowry, they’ll get a legit guard who can share the scoring load with the Black Mamba. Johnson takes on Gasol’s role and may even be a better fit in head coach Mike D’ Antoni’s offense.
Toronto Raptors-Brooklyn Nets Trade
A. Johnson ($6.5M) + L. Fields ($6.25M) + K. Lowry ($6.21M) for B. Lopez ($14.6M) + J. Terry ($4.6M)
Logic for the Raptors: They do take the Jet’s contract (until 2014-2015), but Lopez is a nice building block alongside Jonas Valanciunas in the near future. They’ll tank this year without Lopez and Lowry in the line-up but could be the better idea with the deep 2014 NBA Draft.
Logic for the Nets: Two words: WIN NOW. Lowry will add depth to the Nets’ backcourt rotation and he can slide to SG too (similar to Terry’s role) alongside Deron Williams. Johnson might even start with KG and have even more frontcourt depth.