Earlier this week, it was reported that the Los Angeles Lakers were making calls for a guard, which most people assumed meant that they were looking to add a specialist to the end of their bench like George Hill, who they were recently tied to.
However, during the “Woj and Lowe Trade Deadline Special” on ESPN on Wednesday, NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski hinted that the Lakers could be players for the best point guard on the market right now (emphasis mine):
“Kyle Lowry is very much available now and listen, there is a perfect storm going on in Toronto with the lowing streak, how far they have fallen back in the Eastern Conference standings... The fact that Lowry is obviously in the final year of his deal. Philadelphia, the Miami Heat, there are a number of teams engaged.
“The Raptors, Masai Ujiri, 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, but here’s one team that don’t rule out of this one between now and the trade deadline: The Lakers.”
The Lakers’ interest in Lowry isn’t surprising. Lowry, a six-time All-Star and an NBA champion, is one of the most reliable two-way point guards in the league and he’s proven in the postseason. In seven playoff runs with the Raptors, Lowry has averaged 17.1 points, 6.3 assists, 4.8 rebounds and 1.4 steals per game — that’s a guy most teams would like to have on their roster.
So, the question for the Lakers isn’t they “why?” — it’s “how?”
Lowry is under contract for $30.5 million this season, so in order to execute a trade for Lowry, the Lakers would have to offer Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, one of Dennis Schröder or Montrezl Harrell and another inexpensive contract, and that’s just to match salaries. To sweeten, the deal, you’d likely have to throw in draft compensation.
There’s also the possibility of a buyout, but given the fact that the Philadelphia 76ers and Miami Heat have both expressed interest in acquiring Lowry before the trade deadline, I’d argue that’s highly unlikely, which puts the Lakers in a tough spot.
Lowry is good — really, really good — but would it be wise of the Lakers to trade three of their rotation players for someone who will turn 35 years old on the day of the trade deadline and is on an expiring contract? I tend to lean towards no, but I guess we’ll find out where Rob Pelinka’s head is on Thursday — and when I say Thursday, I mean not a moment sooner.
Lowe just added to open The Jump that this is likely to, "go down all the way to the wire" with the three team battle between the Sixers, the Heat, and the Lakers https://t.co/klnB9Im5Bt— Kyle Neubeck (@KyleNeubeck) March 24, 2021
The trade deadline is at 12:00 p.m. PT pacific time. We’ve got just under 24 hours to go. Hang tight.