The Los Angeles Lakers missed out on Kyle Lowry at the NBA trade deadline but there has been plenty of speculation that the team will once again pursue the six-time All-Star in free agency. With no cap space, the challenge for the Lakers is they would have to pull off a sign-and-trade to have any chance of landing the Raptors guard.
Bleacher Report’s Dan Favale has the Lakers dangling Kyle Kuzma as part of a package that would net Lowry. Favale’s proposal also has the Lakers sending the Raptors Montrezl Harrell along with the No. 22 pick. The inclusion of Harrell is dependent on the big man not opting out of his current contract as he has a player option this offseason.
“Toronto’s interest shouldn’t be a roadblock, either,” Favale noted. “Kuzma has turned into a solid positional defender and serviceable spot-up shooter. His three-year, $39 million deal that kicks in next season is eminently reasonable, and a soon-to-be 26-year-old jibes with a version of the Raptors that, in Lowry’s absence, would try to get younger. Housing Harrell for a beat isn’t prohibitive. Toronto’s frontcourt rotation will put his rim pressure to good use.
“The Lakers’ gummed-up cap sheet is actually more restrictive than anything else. Acquiring Lowry by way of sign-and-trade hard caps them, and they’ll enter the offseason within $10 million of the luxury tax if Harrell exercises his player option. That doesn’t include holds for free agents Alex Caruso, Talen Horton-Tucker (restricted) and Dennis Schroder. Getting Lowry would come at the cost of additional collateral damage. The thing is: He’s worth it.”
The Lakers Were Not Willing to Trade Talen Horton-Tucker to Land Kyle Lowry
This deal has appeal for both teams as the Raptors get a few assets for Lowry who is likely to sign with a contender this offseason. Kuzma has been frustrating for Lakers fans, especially after his poor performance against the Suns in the playoffs. The forward is on a reasonable three-year, $39 million contract which should be appealing to other teams. The deal-breaker at the deadline appeared to be the Lakers’ refusal to include Talen Horton-Tucker, who is a restricted free agent this offseason.
All this depends on Lowry wanting to sign with the Lakers this offseason as there have been rumblings that it was not the point guard’s preference at the deadline. This is likely going to be the story of the Lakers’ offseason as the team needs a player to target them in free agency. Outside of the available role players for the exception, the Lakers need to orchestrate a sign-and-trade to have any chance of landing a star free agent.
The Addition of Lowry Would Likely Mean Schroder Signs Elsewhere in Free Agency
The addition of Lowry would likely mean the end of the Dennis Schroder era in Los Angeles. Schroder is expected to garner big offers in free agency, and it will be interesting to see if the Lakers are still willing to give the point guard a lucrative contract. Raptors president Masai Ujiri admitted he was a bit surprised a deal for Lowry did not get done this season.
“In the heat of the moment, I was surprised because, to be honest, I’ve viewed him as somebody that can go out and put a stamp on what you can do this year,” Ujiri told The Athletic’s Eric Koreen. “Teams that I saw — I know that if he goes to those places, I’ve lived it, I’ve seen (what he can do). And especially these teams. They have a couple of those guys, so, to me, I know what the guy does. I know who he is. And that’s the truth. So, yeah, we’re going to be skewed in some kind of way and I’m biased in many ways with the players we have and I hope I’m pardoned that if I valued him too much, but that’s what I believe in today.”