The Miami Heat are "exploring pathways" to reunite Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan, according to Marc Stein of the New York Times.
ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported the Heat will pick up the $19.4 million option for Goran Dragic, a move that might help them land Lowry.
Adrian Wojnarowski @wojespn
A Dragic sign-and-trade would need to include assets -- such as draft picks and/or young players -- to incentivize Raptors' involvement. TOR could decide to keep Dragic, or work a buyout, save money and allow him to play elsewhere. Free agency starts Monday at 6, it's all fluid.
Stein added that Miami is viewed by some as the strongest contender to sign the veteran point guard and that the perception was "only enhanced" by triggering Dragic's option.
Lowry figures to command a high price tag. He's a six-time All-Star and was a key figure on the Toronto Raptors' 2019 championship team. The Phoenix Suns' run to the NBA Finals with Chris Paul also showed how adding a veteran guard can raise a franchise's ceiling.
Unlike his former teammate, DeRozan may not be in an advantageous position.
The 31-year-old's time in Toronto showed he probably can't be a No. 1 option for a team with title aspirations, and his 28.1 percent career clip on three-pointers raises obvious concerns about how he fits into the offense.
Bleacher Report's Jake Fischer reported DeRozan is one of a few experienced scorers whom some think might "forgo higher salary opportunities elsewhere" and sign with the Los Angeles Lakers. His willingness to accept a team-friendly deal would presumably apply to situations similar to that of the Lakers.
Even if DeRozan takes a big pay cut from the $27.7 million he earned in 2020-21, making the money work might still be tricky for the Heat. ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Miami is declining Andre Iguodala's $15 million option, which would be a way to help facilitate signing him.
Anthony Chiang @Anthony_Chiang
DeRozan possibility is interesting, and one that league sources have mentioned to me and <a href="https://twitter.com/flasportsbuzz?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@flasportsbuzz</a> that Heat is interested in. Butler, DeRozan, Lowry are close. <br><br>But getting a sign-and-trade deal done with DeRozan, an impending FA, will be complicated w/o Iguodala's salary.
There's also the question as to how DeRozan fits into a team that runs a lot of its offense through Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo. Unless Miami is planning to let Duncan Robinson, a restricted free agent, walk this offseason, his potential place in the rotation isn't immediately clear, either.
During the 2019 offseason, DeAndre Jordan was effectively part of a package deal with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant for the Brooklyn Nets, who already had a promising young center in Jarrett Allen.
Perhaps the Heat view DeRozan as the one piece that could help them seal the deal with Lowry, and they'll figure out the rest later.