‘My $30 Million PG Is Fat’: NBA Execs Sound off on Potential Kyle Lowry Trade

Pat Riley, Heat president

Getty Pat Riley, Heat president

Whenever Miami Heat team president Pat Riley addresses the NBA media for his annual postseason press conference, it’s a good time to gather up some popcorn and take in the show. Riley never holds back on his opinions of his team, especially when it comes to where he sees needed improvement. He can be unpredictable: He might, from time to time, poke fun at rival executives or, as he did this year, challenge reporters to push-up contests.

But when Riley spoke this week, one of his most telling comments came about point guard Kyle Lowry, whom the team signed as a free agent last summer. Riley said that Lowry will, next season, need to “address” his subpar conditioning. “The bottom line with me and for me as far as hoping you can get the most out of a player … is that you have to be in world-class shape, you just have to be,” Riley said.

Lowry, who turned 36 in March, was not. Whether that had anything to do with the hamstring injury that struck him in the first round of the playoffs and wound up costing him eight games this postseason is debatable. But after averaging 13.4 points and 7.5 assists on 44.0% shooting in the regular season, Lowry cratered to 7.8 points, 4.7 assists and 29.1% shooting in the playoffs.

‘My $30 Million Point Guard Is Fat’

Since Riley’s press conference, there has been talk of a potential rift between Lowry and the organization, and that perhaps the Heat will look to trade Lowry. As one Eastern Conference general manager told Heavy.com, though, don’t buy that for a minute.

“Pat is tough,” the GM said. “He has been doing this for a long, long time. Every time he gets in front of a microphone, he is sending a message to a player, or to a bunch of players. It is intentional. And his message to Kyle was, OK, you are a veteran and you did things your way for this year and we lost and you struggled. Now let’s do things my way, let’s do things the Heat way. That is what he was saying.

“You don’t say that if you are planning on trading the guy away. You don’t say, ‘My $30 million point guard is fat, who wants to trade for him?’”

Indeed, Lowry is under contract with the Heat for two more years, at $28.3 million for next year and $29.7 million the following year. Riley clearly expects more for his money.

Is It Age or Conditioning?

Other executives and league sources agreed that there’s very little chance at a Lowry trade out of Miami, that Riley was merely trying to motivate his veteran point guard. The Heat have earned a reputation over the years for grueling offseason/preseason workouts and the consensus is that Lowry might not have been as deeply invested in those workouts as he could have been.

Still, Lowry is clearly coming to the end of the line on his NBA career, and the concern might not be his conditioning, but merely his age.

“You know, as you get older, you’re not in the same shape you were in when you were 27,” another executive said. “That’s a fact for all of us. Riley probably just wants to see, is this a matter of Lowry being older and just not ever going to be in that same shape he once was? Or is it something that a little extra work can fix? Kyle is a pro. They’re going to work it out, I am sure.”

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