Heat Rumors: Kyle Lowry May Have Rescued His Miami Career

Kyle Lowry of the Miami Heat, a potential trade asset.

Getty Kyle Lowry of the Miami Heat, a potential trade asset.

The regular-season numbers were simply not there for Heat guard Kyle Lowry: 11.2 points, 5.1 assists, 4.1 rebounds. Not terrible for a guy who turned 37 in March but not great for a guy who was paid $28.3 million last season, especially not considering his 40.4% shooting and his 34.5% 3-point shooting.

But, though the playoff numbers were not outstanding, either (9.2 points, 4.4 assists, 3.5 rebounds), there were times throughout Miami’s surprising postseason run to the Finals when Lowry was the team’s saving grace, keeping a stagnant Heat offense from falling apart altogether.

Lowry spent most of the season as a starter but became the Heat’s sparkplug sixth man in the playoffs. It was a role that suited him, and suited the Heat. But as Miami looks for ways to upgrade the roster and remains on the hunt for another superstar player to pave the way back to the Finals, Lowry has become an interesting case.

His play during the postseason helped resuscitate his trade value. But as old as he is, and considering his inability to stay healthy (he missed five weeks with a sore left knee just before the playoffs), that resuscitation is limited. With Lowry slated to earn $29.6 million next season, he would almost have to be part of any major Miami trade—it would be difficult to bring in, say, Damian Lillard or Bradley Beal without sending out Lowry.

The Heat also have regained some appreciation for Lowry and how he can potentially help the bench next season. Whether that appreciation is enough to keep him in South Florida is an open question, though.

Miami Overpaid Lowry in 2021

When the Heat signed Lowry in 2021, they were expecting competition from multiple teams and moved quickly to lock up Lowry in free agency. A little too quickly, in fact—Miami was fined for tampering because they signed Lowry almost immediately after free agency began. The Heat did themselves no favors, too, by way overbidding on Lowry, giving him a three-year contract worth $85 million.

Lowry has not lived up to the deal, mostly because of injury but in part because of a natural decline that comes with age. He was shopped this season at the trade deadline (to Minnesota for D’Angelo Russell and to Brooklyn for Kyrie Irving, among other places) as the Heat looked to upgrade their backcourt, but there were no takers.

Lowry is expected to be on offer again this summer, in the final season of his contract. The Heat could include first-round draft picks in Lowry deals, with a pick available this year (No. 18 overall), as well as in 2027 and 2029.

Expect the Heat to be measured in their pursuit of Lowry deals, though. At one point, they would have liked to simply be out of Lowry’s money altogether. But now, he has re-established his postseason value, and if the Heat can keep some other key members of their rotation in place – Gabe Vincent, especially – Miami is a bit more willing to focus on retaining the current group for next year.

If Max Strus signs elsewhere, the Heat could still come back with a backcourt of Vincent and Tyler Herro, with Lowry off the bench. Caleb Martin and Victor Oladipo, and perhaps another reclamation project (Kendrick Nunn is a name to keep an eye on, sources say) could add depth.

Should the Heat miss out on top-tier star trade targets, a source told Heavy Sports the team would be fine with coming back featuring that backcourt. “It’s not a bad option to have, the way he played,” the source said. “It’s not a desperate kind of thing.”

Lowry Showed Value as 6th Man

That means the end of the line for Lowry in Miami is not as imminent as it would have seemed two months ago.

During the playoffs, coach Erik Spoelstra was asked about Lowry and his willingness to play off the bench.

“Kyle, he’s all about winning. At this stage in his career, when you have more yesterdays than you have tomorrows, it’s really about these kind of competitive moments on the biggest stage,” Spoelstra said. “That’s what drives him more than anything, is the ultimate competition.

“It was a relatively easy decision to take him off the bench because we had to shut him down for five weeks, and when he came back, he had a minutes restriction that he and I were aware of. The first game he came back I played him 36 minutes, so the head coach got yelled at by everybody. Kyle and I met the next day and we were both laughing about it. We needed to protect each other. The only way to do that was to bring him off the bench so we could control the minutes.”

He fared well in the role. He just might stay in it next year.

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