Kyle Lowry is coming off a career season with the Toronto Raptors, just in time to enter free agency as one of the most sought-after point guards this summer. The bidding price appears to be set on how much it will take for the Raptors to retain him.
Lowry is by far the most attractive option at point guard among this summer’s free agents. The list after him includes Eric Bledsoe and Isaiah Thomas, who are both restricted free agents. After that, you’re looking at the likes of Shaun Livingston, Rodney Stuckey, Nate Robinson and yeah, you can see the drop off in talent awfully quick.
According to Peter Vecsey, any team looking to sign Lowry — who set career highs in minutes, points and assists per game this season — will need to pony up both dollars and years:
I am told it'll take 10-12M per 4 TR 2 retain Lowry. Lakers should make strong play 4 him. Nash must 1st retire & open up cap xtra cap space
— Peter Vecsey (@PeterVecsey1) May 21, 2014
The $12 million per year will likely be a starting negotiating point for Lowry and the Raptors. How much leverage he has will depend on how many other suitors emerge. There are not many teams who have a need at starting point guard, especially at that price. The Lakers — as mentioned by Vecsey above — are one, but Mitch Kupchak has been on record saying Steve Nash will be back next year and not be waived via the stretch provision, which would allow the team to open up more cap space by spreading his $9.7 million salary next season over three years. Even if the Lakers change course and part ways with Nash, they have a plethora of other needs and might choose to use their lottery pick on a point guard instead and focus elsewhere in free agency.
All of this assumes Lowry is even interested in going to Los Angeles, or any other team with the cap space and a need for a starting point guard. The fact is, while the Lakers will always be an attractive free agency destination, they’re also in a rebuilding phase with a lot of uncertainty as Kobe Bryant‘s two-year extension kicks in next season.
After being traded from Houston and getting off to a rocky start with Raptors head coach Dwane Casey, Lowry has finally settled into a comfortable situation in Toronto. Toronto has a promising young core around Lowry, and should continue to make strides in the Eastern Conference over the next few seasons. Given all of these factors, it is hard to envision Lowry going anywhere else this summer, especially if the Raptors come close to meeting Lowry’s contract demands, which I think they will.
Where do you think Lowry will end up?
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