Any team looking to pull off a Kyle Lowry trade ahead of Thursday’s deadline will be doing so focusing on the next couple seasons. It’s not simply about making a championship push this year.
Recent reports indicate that Lowry wants an acquiring team to commit to a two-year contract at $25 million annually. Essentially, this is the six-time All-Star’s free-agent tour before he officially hits the open market during the summer.
Out west, the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers have not necessarily been bandied about as it relates to a blockbuster trade. There’s obvious reasons for this.
First off, it seems Los Angeles doesn’t have the young players, draft pick assets and cap room to add a top-end player like Lowry. Secondly, the team seems to be just fine despite being without stars LeBron James (ankle) and Anthony Davis (Achilles) over the short term.
Going against the above-mentioned narrative, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (h/t Bleacher Report) notes that the Lakers are now a team to keep an eye on when it comes to a Kyle Lowry trade.
This seems to be a bit ridiculous. In what world does Los Angeles have the assets to compete with the likes of the Miami Heat and Philadelphia 76ers for Lowry? It just doesn’t make any sense.
That’s until we realize Toronto is willing to work with its longest-tenured player and franchise stalwart to send him to the best possible location. If the 34-year-old Lowry views that to be the Lakers, something might be able to work out.
Kyle Lowry is an obvious long-term fit with the Los Angeles Lakers
Turning 35 on trade deadline day, Lowry is not this washed-up scrub. The dude continues to perform at an absolutely high level. He’s averaging 17.6 points, 5.6 rebounds and 7.4 assists on 39% from three-point range on the season. Lowry clearly has a few more years of high-level basketball remaining in him.
As for the Lakers, it’s not a reach to say Lowry would be a marked upgrade over impending free agent Dennis Schroder at point guard. That’s also where the finances come into play here.
From a pure salary cap perspective, this might be Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka’s best opportunity to land a third star behind King James and Davis. Los Angeles has some contracts coming off the books once free agency starts. It will not be enough to add a top-end talent with cash alone.
We focused on this before from a league-wide perspective. Given the economic downturn brought on by COVID-19, only six teams are going to have cap room during the summer. Los Angeles obviously isn’t going to be one of them. For those who won’t have cap room, adding a player now with assets currently on their roster could make sense. The Lakers fit into that category.
So, how would a Kyle Lowry trade to the Los Angeles Lakers look?
It’s complicated. Toronto might be willing to work with Lowry, but it is going to want a nice package in return for the all-time franchise great. Los Angeles might not be able to offer the best package. It could, however, entice the Raptors with a number of assets. Here’s how a hypothetical trade might look.
- Lakers get: Kyle Lowry
- Raptors get: Talen Horton-Tucker, Dennis Schroder, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Devontae Cacok, first-round pick, two second round picks
By virtue of their trade for Anthony Davis ahead of the 2019-20 season, the Lakers can’t move a first-round pick until 2026 at the earliest. This complicates things. However, adding in two second-round picks could entice Toronto into making a move.
With that said, Talen Horton-Tucker would be the centerpiece heading back to Canada in this hypothetical blockbuster. The young guard is seen as a potential franchise cornerstone moving forward.
The Raptors also need a two-guard of the future to team up with Fred VanVleet now that Norman Powell is clearly on the trade block. Schroder’s expiring contract helps, as does Caldwell-Pope’s three-and-D ability next to Pascal Siakam in the frontcourt.
For the Lakers, this Kyle Lowry trade would be a no-brainer. They would be able to re-sign the potential future Hall of Famer using the NBA’s Bird Rights in free agency. Teaming him up with LeBron and AD would form the West Coast’s equivalent of a super team.