Kyle Lowry will opt out of his contract with the Raptors and become a free agent this summer, making him one of the top point guards on the market. Lowry can command a substantial salary if he re-signs with Toronto (five years, $205 million) compared to what he can get if he signs a max deal elsewhere (four years, $152 million). The Raptors have said they will pursue Lowry this offseason, but it remains to be seen whether they are willing to commit a full max deal to him, which would tie up over $300 million for the next four years of DeMar DeRozan and five years of Lowry in the backcourt.
Should Toronto not present Lowry with a max offer or the full five-year deal, he will likely have plenty of suitors for his services on the open market. Behind Steph Curry and Chris Paul – both expected to re-sign with their current teams – Lowry is the best of the rest that includes Jrue Holiday, George Hill, and Jeff Teague. Lowry insisted that winning is the most important thing to him, but anyone that’s followed professional sports in the free agency era knows that money speaks the loudest.
Among the teams that could come with strong offers to try and pry Lowry away from the Raptors are the Philadelphia 76ers. According to Keith Pompey of Philly.com, there is mutual interest between the two sides for a potential homecoming for Lowry, a former Villanova standout who grew up and currently resides in the Philadelphia area.
Sources have said the North Philly native has been interested in playing for the Sixers for some time. The speculation only heightened once Bryan Colangelo became the president of basketball operations in April 2016. As the Raptors general manager, Colangelo acquired Lowry in a trade from the Houston Rockets on July 11, 2012. The two have remained good friends since then.
And sources have always said that the Sixers planned to offer Lowry a lucrative contract this summer.
Philadelphia being home is certainly a strong selling point for the Sixers, who also have plenty of cap space to bring Lowry in on a max deal. We’ve seen in recent years how important the opportunity to play at home has been to NBA players, although they tend to be accomplished veterans closer to the end of their careers.
At 31, Lowry is a veteran, but he’s still chasing the ever-elusive ring. Even if there’s interest, he’ll have to decide if his career’s timeline will matchup with what the Sixers timeline to become a contender is. Philly has interesting young players, most notably Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons with a likely top-5 pick coming in. However, there will need to be time for those players to gel and prove that they can stay healthy for a full season.
Lowry’s appeal to the Sixers is obvious. He’d provide a veteran presence at point guard to help lead a group of young players and teach them how to take the next step in becoming a playoff contender. If the Sixers could find some shooting help as well this offseason – which is another tremendous need for Philly – adding Lowry could make them a very intriguing squad. Philly will hope the allure of playing at home and Lowry’s relationship with Colangelo will be enough to separate them from the other teams that will be in hot pursuit of one of the league’s top commodities this offseason.