With only three days left for the Heat to make a move for Kyle Lowry before the March 25 trade deadline, the conversation has shifted from discussing the mutual interest between the Toronto Raptors’ star and Miami, to what Pat Riley can offer to lock in a deal.
While the Heat’s $7.5 million trade exception expired at midnight, and their $4.7 million disabled player exception disappeared after trading Meyers Leonard, Miami still has a couple of options to play with in order to acquire Lowry. The Raptors point guard makes $30 million, so the Heat would need to give about $24 million in total salary.
Money wise, Miami Heat can send Andre Iguodala, Kelly Olynyk, and Moe Harkless, in order to receive the six-time All-Star.
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Practically speaking, however, the Raptors, who are looking to rebuild with young talent, would likely want rookie Precious Achuiwa instead of Iguodala or Harkless, which can also work salary cap-wise. The bigger question is whether or not Miami is willing to part with their 21-year-old first-rounder from last year’s NBA Draft in order to obtain Lowry, who turns 35 on the trade deadline.
As for Miami’s third option, the franchise would have to include either Tyler Herro or Duncan Robinson. Because it’s highly unlikely that the Heat is willing to let go of Herro, 21, who’s in the second year of his four-year rookie contract, Robinson, 26, makes sense as the centerpiece of Miami’s trade offer which would also include Iguodala and Olynyk.
The Associated Press’ Tim Reynolds says the jury is still out on whether or not Lowry will actually leave Toronto. Reynolds tweeted on March 23, “All I can say is this: It’s absolutely true that if Kyle Lowry leaves Toronto, his pick of landing spots would be Miami. And I do think he’ll be with the Heat next season. I’m just not sure yet about whether he will be later this week.”
While the Los Angeles Clippers and Philadelphia 76ers have also shown interest, one of the reasons Lowry prefers taking his talents to South Beach stems from his close friendship with the Heat’s five-time All-Star Jimmy Butler.
Lowry Will Have a New Contract ‘By the End of the Week’
ESPN’s Brian Windhorst revealed on Tuesday that whatever happens with Lowry, it will be decided real soon. Windhorst tweeted on March 23, “Kyle Lowry’s free agency is happening right now. The expectation is that Kyle Lowry is going to have a new contract by the end of this week. It’s either going to be to stay in Toronto… it’s going to be Miami or it’s going to be Philadelphia.”
If Windhorst’s report is correct, the Heat no longer have the option to wait and pursue Lowry during the offseason when he becomes an unrestricted free agent. At the same time, waiting for the summer would’ve been a big risk.
“Waiting on Lowry or on another player who might (or might not) become available would mean passing on an opportunity to maximize this year’s titles hopes,” The Ringer‘s Kevin O’Conner reported. “Pat Riley had hoped to pursue a big fish like Giannis Antetokounmpo, but that ship sailed when he re-signed in Milwaukee. And Bradley Beal, another target, has yet to express a desire to leave Washington. Lowry is older, but he could be Riley’s best option to bolster the Butler- [Bam] Adebayo core.”