As the Miami Heat continue to consider their options heading into this offseason and the rumors continue, the team should seriously consider pursuing Kyle Lowry instead of Carmelo Anthony as they try to create another championship contender.
During an interview with Hannah Storm, ESPN's Brian Windhorst said that the Heat and current unrestricted free agent Kyle Lowry have mutual interest. With Mario Chalmers heading into free agency, the Heat could very well replace him with the 28-year-old, who most recently played with the Toronto Raptors.
Lowry isn't the first big name that the Heat are reportedly interested in bringing in. Less than a week ago, Windhorst and Marc Stein of ESPN.com reported that the Heat were looking to target New York Knicks superstar Carmelo Anthony, who has the option to opt out of his contract and become a free agent.
As Windhorst admits in the interview, signing Lowry is a long shot, and according to Alex Kennedy from Basketball Insiders, the point guard is quite happy in Toronto.
With that said, I've also heard from people in Kyle Lowry's life that the PG is happy in Toronto and will seriously consider re-signing.— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) June 17, 2014
While Heat fans would love to see Anthony and LeBron James on the same team, it's more realistic and makes more sense for the team to pursue Lowry if they want to make it back to the NBA Finals next season.
It was a career-best year for Lowry with the Raptors this past season. He played in 79 games, putting up 17.9 points, 7.4 assists and 4.7 rebounds per game while shooting 42.3 percent from the floor. His player efficiency rating of 20.2 was the fifth highest among qualified point guards, beating out names like Mike Conley and John Wall.
The point guard position is a bigger need for the Heat than forward. Lowry would be a huge upgrade from Chalmers, who struggled in the NBA Finals against the Spurs, averaging just 4.4 points with 2.0 turnovers per game while shooting just 33.3 percent. Norris Cole has the only guaranteed contract for Miami, but he's best suited for a backup role.
While Anthony is still the better scorer, Lowry is the better player defensively. According to Basketball-Reference, Lowry had a defensive rating or 106 with 3.3 defensive win shares, while Melo had a 108 defensive rating and just 2.5 defensive win shares.
Which player should the Heat pursue?
From a financial standpoint, signing Lowry also makes more sense than signing Melo. According to Spotrac, Lowry's most recent contract averaged out to less than $6 million per year. After such a strong season, he'll likely be expecting something closer to $10 million per year, but even then he'll be much cheaper than Anthony, who would be making over $23 million if he doesn't opt out of his current deal.
If the Heat want to keep the Big Three intact, LeBron, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh would all probably have to take pay cuts to bring in Lowry, but the pay cuts they'd have to take to bring in Melo would cost each of them tens of millions.
Still, the Big Three won't take pay cuts just so their team can save cap space. If they're going to do so, they're going to need guarantees that the team can bring in another star.
In the end, it's unlikely that the Heat will be able to acquire either of these players, but if they really do want to add another big name to their roster, it makes more sense for Miami to go after Lowry than Anthony.