With the 2016-17 NBA season more than halfway over, the teams who aren’t necessarily in the championship picture are looking at ways to improve going forward. For many of the struggling teams, the NBA Draft will be their best way to upgrade their rosters, but signing free agent players could also significantly help some squads. One of the NBA free agents who is being looked at by several teams is the Toronto Raptors’ Kyle Lowry. The Raptors All-Star guard is out of action right now but expected to return for the postseason. Could a free agent like Lowry end up playing for the Lakers, Sixers, or Nuggets in the next NBA season?
In the upcoming free agency season for the NBA, Lowry will be among some of the big-name stars who are potential targets for teams. Other stars on the list of coveted free agents will include the Los Angeles Clippers’ Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, Atlanta Hawks’ Paul Millsap, Utah Jazz’s Gordon Hayward, and Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry. Kevin Durant is also part of this list, but one has to think that both he and Curry are probably safe bets to remain with the Warriors nation. That leaves other teams continuing to try to build a roster that has the star power to contend with Golden State and the current champion Cleveland Cavs.
The Lakers are a team that has fallen from contender status to rebuilding status ever since the final seasons of Kobe Bryant’s superstar career. A report via Sporting News on February 28 indicated that Kyle Lowry was once interested in signing with the Los Angeles Lakers back in 2014. At that time, he decided against it due to the team’s “lack of direction” there. Now there appears to be some better direction with new management in place including former Lakers great Earvin “Magic” Johnson. The team has young guard D’Angelo Russell as their main point guard and has recently traded or released other veteran guards such as Lou Williams and Jose Calderon.
— Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) February 20, 2017
In addition to the Lakers, Sporting News also indicates that Lowry may be pursued by the Philadelphia 76ers or the Denver Nuggets. Lowry hails from Philadelphia and played college basketball for the Villanova Wildcats, making it a potentially attractive spot to play for the guard. With Denver, the team has been mentioned as one of the squads expected to be “aggressive” when it comes to finding free agents to add to their team. Right now, Denver is among the top eight teams in the Western Conference and have managed to be mentioned in the playoff picture without having any All-Stars on their team.
It’s being mentioned by Sportsrageous in their report on Lowry that a possibility is the Lakers will not only snag Toronto’s star but also try to add Paul George in the offseason. The underlying idea here is that having these two All-Star players on the Los Angeles roster would bring them back into the conversation as a team that contends rather than struggles.
Even though he’s currently injured, Lowry still ranks among the top 20 NBA players in terms of scoring average. As of this report, he’s tied with Charlotte’s Kemba Walker at No. 19 with an average of 22.8 points per game. In addition, the Raptors guard is averaging 6.9 assists and 4.7 rebounds a game in 37.7 minutes per game. Lowry’s out with a wrist injury with the prognosis that he won’t be back to the court for four-to-five weeks from now.
The star guard comes with plenty of praise beyond his current numbers too. In a recent sit-down talk with Sports Illustrated, Lowry’s former college coach Jay Wright of Villanova said, “He was one of the great challenges we’ve had as coaches and one of the most rewarding experiences we’ve ever had.” Wright talked of Lowry having some issues with authority but also being “one of the smartest guys we’ve ever had.” He went on to call the current Raptors guard “one of the most intelligent players and businessmen” he knows.
The biggest questions with Lowry and Los Angeles come with regard to what Magic and the team’s plan is. Will they continue to be patient with their young talents such as Russell, Brandon Ingram, and Julius Randle, while also trying to upgrade in the NBA Draft, or will the Lakers try to get better in a hurry with some veteran stars like Lowry and Paul George? Time will tell, but based on Magic’s comments upon becoming the new guiding force for this team, it seems he was assuring faithful fans that this won’t be an overnight process in terms of finding success.
[Featured Image by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images]