All eyes remain trained on Kyle Lowry's future as the NBA's free-agency period readies to open at 6 p.m. ET Monday. Word around the league at this juncture is clearly pointing toward the All-Star guard joining Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat via a sign-and-trade with Toronto. The Heat are also expected to sign Butler to a lucrative contract extension, sources told B/R.
Lowry and Butler have been known to be close dating back to their shared experience with Team USA during the 2016 Olympics. And the moment Miami picked up Goran Dragic's $19.4 million team option for the 2021-22 season, league personnel began to pencil Lowry into South Beach. "It's so indicative of a sign-and-trade incoming," one Western Conference executive said.
Dragic appears likely to head to Toronto in such an agreement, which sources around the league expect to include Precious Achiuwa. There is a belief among rival executives that both Dragic and Achiuwa could be rerouted elsewhere in subsequent trades. And while the Heat still seem focused on finding a path to bring on DeMar DeRozan as well, that does not sound like a requirement for Lowry to join Miami.
DeRozan now appears headed for his own significant payday. It's believed both the Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers saw DeRozan as amenable to coming home and chasing a championship in his native city at the taxpayer mid-level exception that would net roughly $5.9 million. That no longer seems to be the case.
Lowry's former running mate was said to have strong interest from New York, Detroit and Dallas, sources told B/R, although there is still a belief that Tim Hardaway Jr. could re-sign with the Mavericks on a four-year deal. Dwight Powell is a name that continues to surface in trade speculation as well.
The Lakers may also lose out on point guard Alex Caruso. There's a sense around the league that Caruso will have several options at the full mid-level of $9.5 million. He will take meetings with teams in Los Angeles on Monday afternoon, and the Washington Wizards have been frequently mentioned by league personnel as a suitor to monitor.
That's probably because the heavily rumored Spencer Dinwiddie sign-and-trade to Washington appears to have lost some momentum. Brooklyn has not signaled much interest in taking back either Kyle Kuzma's or Montrezl Harrell's contract onto its exorbitant tax bill, sources said, despite the Wizards' ongoing efforts to move both bigs.
There are still scenarios where Dinwiddie could sign with Washington, because the Russell Westbrook trade between the Wizards and Lakers is not official and could always expand to include multiple teams. Yet Dinwiddie now seems like the preferred point guard option in New Orleans should Lowry indeed sign with Miami. For weeks, there has been a rumored two-year, $40 million offer that league sources believe Oklahoma City is prepared to make Dinwiddie as well.
Lonzo Ball is still expected to sign an offer sheet with Chicago, except the Bulls require a few financial moves before they can extend him the roughly four-year, $84 million contract that's been discussed in league circles. Should Chicago find trade partners for Tomas Satoransky and Thaddeus Young in the coming hours, that would provide further indication of the Bulls' Ball pursuit, just like Dragic's option with Miami. Although Boston's interest in Ball continues to be mentioned by league sources as well.
Norman Powell's free agency has also generated significant chatter around the NBA. Portland officials and executives across the league took note of Detroit's maneuvering over the weekend, which allowed the Pistons to clear upward of $20.2 million in space. That could present an opportunity for Powell to reunite with his former head coach Dwane Casey—ditto for a scenario where DeRozan signs with Detroit. But the Trail Blazers losing out on Powell would hold critical ramifications for their quest to refortify their roster around Damian Lillard.
There's an expectation that Gary Trent Jr., whom Toronto traded Powell for at the deadline, will return to the Raptors on a three-year deal worth north of $50 million.
More notes from around the league:
- The numbers floating around for Duncan Robinson's next contract are an average annual value between $16 million and $18 million.
Lauri Markkanen is said to be on the Spurs' radar while also generating interest from the Pistons and Timberwolves. Kelly Olynyk has become frequently linked to Detroit as well.
Teams in the market for Doug McDermott now expect the sharpshooter to command more than the $9.5 million mid-level.
There remains an expectation that despite Toronto's interest, Jarrett Allen will re-sign with Cleveland. The center has been working with Cavaliers officials at the team facility for much of the offseason. At this point, a Collin Sexton trade also appears unlikely.
As the Brooklyn Nets continue dialogue on moving DeAndre Jordan's salary, Oklahoma City has emerged as a potential trade candidate.
Andre Iguodala appears to be one of the veterans that Golden State CEO Joe Lacob hinted at possibly joining the Warriors. League sources also told B/R that forward Paul Millsap would be amenable to joining Golden State or returning to Atlanta at the taxpayer mid-level ($5.9 million).
The Lakers, and Iguodala's former agent Rob Pelinka, are said to be interested in the veteran wing as well. The Lakers have also been linked to Patty Mills, although his market would appear to be more robust than the veteran-minimum spots they have to offer.
Veteran guard Danny Green is known to have interest in playing for the Heat.
Minnesota remains open to moving Taurean Prince after acquiring the forward from Cleveland as the Timberwolves continue to look for reinforcements in their frontcourt.
Cory Joseph is expected to re-sign with the Pistons even though they waived him Saturday.
Gorgui Dieng has generated interest from the Suns and Spurs at around the biannual exception amount of $3.7 million.