Many people like to criticize Kyle Lowry because of his inconsistent play in the playoffs. However, I am a firm believer that a lot of his struggles have to do with the offense Toronto runs. It is easy for teams to lock down on him and DeMar DeRozan in the playoffs because there is no ball movement and the Raptors do not have many three point shooters.
If you watch the Raptors in the regular season, where teams are more inclined to defend players one on one, you will see how good Lowry is. Lowry has been the heart and soul for the Raptors for the last 4 years. Even if he is struggling offensively, his play in other areas makes up for it (taking charges, steals, rebounding, play-making).
Recently, Lowry has confirmed he will be opting out of his contract and why wouldn't he? After all, he is vastly underpaid in comparison to some other players and this next contract will probably be the last big one he receives in the NBA. I think there is a good chance he stays with Toronto, but we are going to take a look at eight teams Lowry might want to play for and seven he will not want to play for.
15 Will - Minnesota Timberwolves
I think Lowry going to Minnesota is unlikely because it will be hard to convince Lowry to move to Minnesota, but from a basketball standpoint the thought of Lowry in a T-Wolves jersey is intriguing and maybe, just maybe Lowry can see this..
Minnesota is on the rise and have two young and upcoming superstars in Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns. I think the Timberwolves are going to make the playoffs next year, regardless if Lowry joins the team. However, a piece like Lowry can make the Timberwolves that much more of a threat in the West. The Wolves have young talent but they need a veteran presence to balance things out. For any chance of this happening, obviously the Timberwolves would need to trade Ricky Rubio.
14 Will Not - Indiana Pacers
I have read some rumors about Indiana possibly making a run at Lowry. However, do not expect Lowry to show any interest in Indiana. I mean, why would he? Sure, Lowry, Paul George, and Miles Turner looks like a good combination on paper, but remember it is clear that George wants out of town. So as a best case scenario for Lowry, maybe the Pacers hang on to George for one more year and let his free agency play out. This would give Indiana one year to make a run, because George will leave in free agency next year for sure.
Even if George does stay, his leadership skills are shaky, at best. George was finger pointing all playoffs and if I was Lowry, I would not even consider joining up with George, even if he is a better player than DeMar DeRozoan.
13 Will - Los Angeles Clippers
The Los Angeles Clippers will only become a potential destination for Lowry if Chris Paul leaves. In addition, the Clippers would have to get creative with the salary cap and possibly pull off a sign and trade with the Raptors. Finally, they would need to keep Blake Griffin in town, or replace him with a similar level player for Lowry to join.
So this one is not looking so likely, but it is intriguing for a couple of reasons. For one, the Los Angeles market is always attractive to free agents. In addition, a core of Lowry, Griffin, and DeAndre Jordan may be able to finally take the Clippers past the second round. It would be good for Griffin and Jordan to have a new point guard, where perhaps there are not so many chemistry issues.
12 Will Not - Chicago Bulls
I think the Chicago Bulls are going to rip up Rajon Rondo's contract this offseason. Only $3 million of the $13 plus million Rondo is owed is guaranteed. The Bulls are going to think that they will be able to upgrade in free agency at the point guard spot, but like usual, they will be wrong.
Lowry will have no interest in coming to the Bulls, even if Jimmy Butler and Dwyane Wade stick around. Why would Lowry want to join a team that clearly has chemistry issues? In addition, Wade is way past his prime and will not be able to help Lowry win a championship. The Bulls would need to add another star player with Butler for Lowry to even consider them.
11 11. Will - New Orleans Pelicans
The New Orleans Pelicans are just a couple pieces away from turning the corner. If the Pelicans can add a point guard like Lowry, they will have one of the best big threes in the NBA with Lowry, DeMarcus Cousins, and Anthony Davis. I also think this team would be able to compete with the Golden State Warriors, assuming management puts the right pieces around the core. Lowry would add much needed outside shooting to this Pelicans squad and be a great floor general.
With Davis and Cousins doing work down low, Lowry will be able to stockpile the assists. Davis and Cousins are big men that also fit the new NBA, so they would be dangerous in the pick and pop. Lowry should consider this move.
10 Will Not - New York Knicks
Knowing James Dolan and the Knicks, they will throw a max contract to Kyle Lowry. I mean they could have had him for pretty cheap a couple of years ago, but Dolan vetoed the trade. Now Dolan is probably regretting that move and will go after Lowry hard. The problem is there is no way Lowry will want to play for the Knicks.
The Knicks franchise is a mess. They have a president that throws players under the bus, a coach that is forced to play a certain system regardless of the roster, a star player that may or may not be traded, and their next potential franchise player is unhappy. Why on earth would a 31-year-old trying to win a ring join that? Good luck, New York.
9 Will - Denver Nuggets
Denver is a dark horse team for Lowry. Call me crazy, but if Dwyane Wade was able to see the potential in these Nuggets, I am sure Lowry will too. The Nuggets have great assets, solid players, and as a result they can be one of those teams that take a big leap in the blink of an eye. Their main weakness right now? The point guard spot. Jameer Nelson was a nice holdover option, but he is too old to be a starting point guard on a good team. Enter, Lowry.
Denver is not going to win a ring next year, but do not be surprised if they start to become one of the better teams in the West with a blink of the eye. Maybe Lowry is the first step.
8 Will Not - Los Angeles Lakers
If the Lakers are able to pull off some crazy moves in the off-season, then Lowry will consider them. However, I do not expect the Lakers to land a superstar in free agency this year, so Lowry will not want to join this rebuilding team. The nice weather will not be enough to lure Lowry. He has made it clear he wants to win too.
Some may argue that the Lakers may acquire George in a trade with Indiana this summer, but all that is going to do is wipe out the depth of the roster. So will Lowry really be any closer to winning a title? Remember what the Knicks gave up to get Carmelo? The Lakers would have to do something similar, and I just do not think it is worth it. Just wait for George to become a free agent and try and sign him that way.
7 Will - Miami Heat
Miami has become a premier destination for free agents and quite frankly, I think NBA players would be crazy to at least not consider the Heat. They have an owner that wants to win, which is not always the case. They have one of the best executives in Pat Riley, who has a proven track record, and they have a great head coach in Eric Spoelstra.
I know the Heat already have Goran Dragic at point guard, but we have seen the Heat clear cap space and trade players before so that they could sign a free agent before. Lowry is an overall better player than Dragic and I am sure the Heat would jump at the chance to have Lowry as their starting point guard.
6 Will Not - Milwaukee Bucks
Some folks have been mentioning Lowry as a great fit for the up and coming Milwaukee Bucks. While a duo of Lowry and the "Greek Freak" would be dynamic, I just do not see this move happening for a couple of reasons.
One, the Bucks seem to love Malcolm Brogden and they think he is their franchise point guard. In addition, the Bucks have a lot of money tied up to Matthew Dellavedova so they would have to do something about that contract as well. Finally, I think the "Greek Freak" is still a couple of years away from taking that big leap in the post-season. Is Lowry willing to wait a season or two for the Bucks to develop? I do not think so.
5 Will - Dallas Mavericks
Kyle Lowry would be a very good fit in Dallas. I do not think the Mavs can become championship contenders by adding Lowry alone, but it will ensure consistent postseason berths, at least. Lowry may like the idea of playing for Dallas because he would still have a chance to be the best player on his team and if you look at the Mavericks roster, they have a nice young core in Harrison Barnes and Nerlens Noel. Also, if Seth Curry continues to improve, suddenly you got a pretty good looking team that could make some noise. With those three and Dirk, the Mavs are missing a star point guard. Enter, Lowry.
Hey knowing the Mavericks though, they will probably strike out on Lowry like they do with every other big named free agent.
4 Will Not - Utah Jazz
There hav been some rumors in recent weeks about Lowry and the Utah Jazz being a potential fit, assuming George Hill walks in free agency. I can understand this, as Utah has quietly gone about their business in building a solid team. I also am a big fan of their head coach Quinn Snyder.
However, I just do not see Lowry in a Utah jersey for a couple of different reasons. First, I do not think Salt Lake City will appeal to Lowry and his family. Secondly, the free agency status of Gordon Hayward is too much of question mark. If Hayward walks then Utah takes a huge step back. I guess Lowry could wait to see what Hayward does, but I doubt that.
3 Will - Philadelphia 76ers
Ever since Lowry announced he is opting out of his contract, the 76er rumors have come out in full force. The rumors do make some sense, though. After all, Philly is Lowry's hometown. Who knows, maybe Lowry has always dreamed of playing for his hometown and now this is his chance. Also, do not forget that Bryan Colangelo is the person that traded for Lowry in Toronto. It is said that Colangelo will have a max offer waiting for Lowry. Intriguing.
The reason I do not have Philly as number one is because the basketball part of this move makes less sense. Sure, the 76ers have great young talent, but those players will be in their prime when Lowry is out of his. If Lowry wants a title, joining this rebuilding team is not the best spot.
2 Will Not - Houston Rockets
If you think back to the last time Lowry was a free agent, you will know that the Houston Rockets were a possible destination. I think the Rockets will once again have interest in Lowry when free agency rolls around. Houston would have to get creative to sign Lowry, but perhaps they could do a sign and trade with a player like Patrick Beverley and draft picks.
However, do not get your hopes up Houston fans, because I do not think Lowry will entertain the idea of playing for Houston this time around. The system Mike D'Antoni runs is too one man dominant and Lowry is not going to steal that role away from James Harden. Lowry will want to go to a team where he has the ball in his hands, and that is not Houston.
1 Will - San Antonio Spurs
The team with the best chance of taking Lowry away from the Raptors is the San Antonio Spurs. Lowry has said he wants to win a ring and what better place to go than San Antonio? The Spurs are contenders year after year and also have the best head coach in the NBA. I am sure Lowry would thrive playing under Gregg Popovich. I think Lowry would also be able to prolong his career because we have seen what the Spurs do in terms of resting and taking care of their players.
However, I must say that if Chris Paul becomes a free agent, the Spurs may make Lowry their plan B. If this does happen, I expect Lowry to move on to other options. We will see though. In the end, I believe Lowry is staying in Toronto.