Kyle Lowry nearly being dealt to the Los Angeles Lakers was the talk of the NBA trade deadline, and the topic was revisited after the team’s recent blowout loss to the Toronto Raptors. Lowry had one of his best games of the season with 37 points, 11 assists and two rebounds while hitting 8-of-13 threes.
After the game, Lowry was not taking the bait even though the point guard clearly had a little extra to play for after the Lakers declined to make a deal for the Raptors point guard. Lowry admitted Raptors communications director Phil Summer prepped him for the Lakers’ questions but disagreed with the idea that he had extra motivation to play well in the matchup.
“You and Phil [Summers] must have talked,” Lowry told reporters with a smile in his postgame press conference. “That’s how you know Phil is really good, because he said you were going to ask that question. There’s no extra motivation. I just wanted to help the team win. I ain’t care about nothing other than winning this game tonight. No extra motivation.”
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Lowry Reportedly Preferred to be Traded to the Heat Over the Lakers
The Lakers were not the only team with an interest in acquiring Lowry as the Sixers and Heat were two other franchises frequently mentioned in trade talks for the point guard. The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor reported Lowry’s preference was to be traded to the Heat over the Lakers or Sixers.
“If it doesn’t work out with Oladipo, the Heat could pivot back to Lowry,” O’Connor detailed. “League sources said if Lowry had been traded, his preference was the Heat because of his close friendship with Jimmy Butler. The Heat can realistically create about $26 million in space while retaining the restricted free-agent rights to Robinson and Kendrick Nunn, if the salary cap is $112 million as currently projected. That number falls short of all max contracts for next season—which range from $28 million for players coming off rookie deals to $39 million for players with 10-plus years of experience—but it could be more than enough to entice Lowry. The Lakers and Sixers, two other teams that were in on Lowry, won’t have cap space.”
The Lakers’ Reluctance to Include Horton-Tucker Cost Them Lowry
All indications are Lowry would be wearing a Lakers uniform if the team was willing to include Talen Horton-Tucker in the deal. The Lakers appeared to be at peace potentially trading Dennis Schroder at the deadline, but Horton Tucker was a different story. Both players will be free agents this offseason. The Athletic’s Jovan Buha and Bill Oram reported that Horton-Tucker proved to be the deal-breaker for the Raptors keeping Lowry in Toronto rather than moving him to Los Angeles.
“Multiple sources told The Athletic that the Lakers and Raptors discussed a trade that would have sent both members of Los Angeles’ starting backcourt, Dennis Schröder and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and likely some draft compensation to Toronto for Lowry,” Buha and Oram explained. “Throughout Thursday morning, sources said, the sticking point was the inclusion of Talen Horton-Tucker. The same sources said that, Rob Pelinka, the Lakers’ vice president of basketball operations, insisted that price was too high for the 35-year-old Lowry, and that he was not willing to trade Horton-Tucker, the 20-year-old combo guard who has emerged as a valuable rotation player for the Lakers in his second season.”
The Lakers could have another opportunity to pursue Lowry in free agency, but it will be much more difficult to land the point guard. Los Angeles is slated to be well over the cap meaning they would have to give up assets in a sign-and-trade for Lowry. Schroder is also a free agent so the Lakers are unlikely to have his salary to use in a potential sign-and-trade.