Good as Kyle Lowry's regular season was, his emergence in the playoffs was even more noteworthy. The 28-year-old averaged 21.1 points per contest in the Toronto Raptors first-round series against the Brooklyn Nets.
That included a 36-point explosion in a Game 5 victory, along with a valiant 28-point effort in the decisive Game 7 loss.
On the heels of the franchise's breakout success, one might think Toronto would do virtually whatever it takes to keep Lowry around. But free agency is an unpredictable business and whispers have already linked Lowry to the likes of the Miami Heat.
The conversation between Lowry and the Raptors may well come down to money, but all things being equal, he's been an outstanding fit with the club. His exit would almost certainly throw Toronto into a temporary state of disarray, attempting to find an immediate replacement for one of the league's most underrated floor generals.
After stints in Memphis and Houston, Toronto is the third club to make use of Lowry's services. The 17.9 points he averaged this season were a career high by far, 3.4 more points per contest than he averaged in 2011-12 with the Rockets.
Lowry is a multifaceted talent who'd bring plenty of skill to his next destination. He can shoot threes or put his head down and drive to the basket. He's also a fine distributor and defender, boasting the kind of all-around game that could solicit a pretty big raise this summer (after earning just $6.2 million for the 2013-14 season).
That raise ultimately depends on the market, but it could easily fall into the $10-12 million per year range.
The question is who's willing (and able) to pay up. A few options stand above the rest.