Kyle Lowry Trade Rumors: Heat, 76ers 'Are Leaders in Pursuit' of Raptors PG

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMarch 22, 2021

Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry (7) brings the ball up court against the Charlotte Hornets during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Charlotte, N.C., Saturday, March 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman)
Jacob Kupferman/Associated Press

The Miami Heat and Philadelphia 76ers are reportedly the "leaders in pursuit" of Toronto Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry ahead of Thursday's 2021 NBA trade deadline.

Shams Charania of The Athletic reported the Los Angeles Clippers are also interested in Lowry, though that scenario is more "difficult" because of the contracts and the Clips' lack of draft capital.

The Raptors are willing to work with the six-time All-Star to find a trade that would land him with a championship contender, but they're also content with allowing him to remain with the organization until season's end, even though he can become an unrestricted free agent in the offseason, per Charania.

Lowry is a Philadelphia native who played college basketball at Villanova before getting selected by the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round of the 2006 NBA draft. He was traded to the Houston Rockets in 2009 and then Toronto in 2012.

He's established himself as one of the best players in franchise history and helped lead the team to its first championship in 2019.

So the goodwill that's built up with the organization over the past nine years allows him to have some say over his next stop despite not having a no-trade clause in his contract, which means the Raptors could technically deal him anywhere they wanted before the deadline.

It sounds like a return to his hometown would be his preference if the sides could work out a deal.

Last month, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer reported Lowry "would like to be in Philly" and, like Charania, he noted the Raptors want to "reward Lowry for his years of service by helping him secure an opportunity to win another NBA title."

Lowry would be an upgrade alongside Ben Simmons in the Sixers backcourt and give the team a little more firepower off the bench with either Seth Curry or Danny Green moving into a reserve role.

Meanwhile, he could also provide a spark for the Heat, who've been stuck in neutral for most of the season with a 22-21 record after reaching the NBA Finals last year.

Charania noted Lowry holds a "close relationship" with Miami star Jimmy Butler and that a trade to the Heat would be an easier short-term move since the Raptors have been playing their games in Tampa because of travel restrictions between the United States and Canada related to the coronavirus pandemic.

If a deal can't be worked out with the Sixers, Heat or possibly the Clippers, it wouldn't be a surprise to see Lowry stick with the Raptors and then reevaluate his options as a free agent over the summer.

He's making $30 million in 2020-21 and is averaging 17.7 points, 7.4 assists and 5.6 rebounds for the 17-25 Raptors in his age-34 season.