ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski broke the internet after suggesting the Los Angeles Lakers are a darkhorse candidate to acquire six-time All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry at the trade deadline. Lowry has been the subject of trade rumors, but the Lakers have mostly been linked to players they could land in the buyout market.
“Kyle Lowry is very much available now, and listen, there is a perfect storm going on in Toronto with the losing streak, how far back they have fallen back in the Eastern Conference standings with COVID issues, injuries and the fact that obviously, Lowry is in the final year of his deal,” Wojnarowski explained on the Woj & Lowe: Trade Deadline Special. “Philadelphia, the Miami Heat, there are a number of teams engaged. And as you know Zach, the Raptors Masai Ujiri and Bobby Webster, their front office, they’re going to work with Kyle Lowry and his agent Mark Bartelstein on where he might like to play if they’re going to do a deal. Here’s one team too, Zach. Don’t rule out of this one between now and Thursday’s trade deadline: the Lakers.”
Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer reported the Lakers have recently become open to trading Dennis Schroder and Montrezl Harrell.
“Of note regarding the Kyle Lowry-Lakers rumors: It seems Los Angeles became open to discussing all of Dennis Schroder, Montrezl Harrell and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope with rival teams as of Monday night, and that chatter has not since quieted among league executives,” Fischer tweeted.
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The Lakers Could Offer a Schroder & Harrell Swap for Lowry
How could the Lakers pull off a trade for Lowry? Any deal starts with Schroder for financial reasons, and the Raptors are going to want appealing players in return. Lowry’s $30.5 million salary means the Lakers have limited options, but Schroder’s $16 million annually is likely the starting point. Both players are on expiring contracts as Schroder has yet to sign an extension with the Lakers.
The Lakers’ draft pick cupboard is bare which puts them at a disadvantage when competing against teams like the Sixers and Heat who have also been linked to Lowry. In addition to Schroder, the Lakers could add Harrell and look to fill their frontcourt void in the buyout market. The two-for-one deal works within the salary cap and gives the Raptors some assets in return.
Schroder has become a fan-favorite but is set to hit free agency this offseason. Lowry is also a free-agent but is more of a finished product, while Schroder is one of the Lakers’ best defenders.
The Lakers would likely prefer to include Kentavious Caldwell-Pope instead of Harrell given the guard’s inconsistent play. This trade offer also works within the salary cap but is far less appealing for the Raptors than a deal with both Schroder and Harrell included.
We can expect Toronto is also trying to pry Alex Caruso or Talen Horton-Tucker from the Lakers in any deal for Lowry. The Lakers have been reluctant to deal either player, but both are headed towards a massive pay raise in free agency. Alfonso McKinnie and Wesley Matthews are two additional names to watch at the trade deadline.
Will the Lakers Make a Deal for Lowry?
Just because a deal works in the trade machine, does not mean it is going to happen. What are the chances the Lakers pull off a last-minute blockbuster trade? It feels low as the Lakers are most likely going to wait out the deadline and sign players who receive a buyout. That said, any deal for Lowry would likely be at least run past LeBron James as the team considered adding a third All-Star to the roster.
According to The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Keith Pompey, Lowry is seeking a baseline of a two-year, $50 million contract extension from his new team. Schroder could command $20 million annually in free agency, but Lowry would still be a price increase for the Lakers to pay their starting point guard. Fans would be wise to consider Lakers head coach Frank Vogel’s recent words about the trade deadline.
“My expectation is we’re going to win games with this group,” Vogel explained, per The Athletic’s Jovan Buha. “I believe in the group that we have. … Most trade-deadline situations, there’s a lot of talks that result in nothing, and that’s my expectation as a coach.”
That said, the Lakers are only a few games removed from being forced to earn a postseason spot in the play-in tournament. With Antonio Davis and LeBron James both sidelined, it would not be the most surprising thing for the Lakers to swing for the fences at the eleventh hour.