The latest NBA trade rumors involve discussion of All-Star Raptors guard Kyle Lowry being sent to the Philadelphia 76ers. Lowry has spent 10 seasons in the NBA so far and has been one of the top stars on a team that has shown playoff success recently. On its face, it appears like a surprising move, but with a name like big man Jahlil Okafor involved in the discussion, it’s certainly one to consider. Okafor has been a player named in trade rumors for a while now, including talk that he might go to the Boston Celtics a while back. Right now, Okafor and his teammate Nerlens Noel continue to be talked about in rumors of potentially moving to new teams.
The Christian Post reported on Monday about the potential Lowry for Okafor swap. The report mentions his standout stats from last season of 21.2 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 6.4 assists per game. He was a member of this past summer’s Rio Olympics basketball squad that took home gold. That would certainly make Lowry an ideal acquisition for any NBA team. Lowry, along with fellow star DeMar DeRozan, has provided one of the stronger backcourts in the league. Would Toronto really want to part ways with him in exchange for Okafor, or should these rumors just be put to rest?
The 76ers center averaged 17.5 points, seven rebounds, and 1.2 blocks per game last season. He was the third overall pick back in the 2015 NBA Draft out of Duke and was expected to pay dividends in Philadelphia. Clearly, the Sixers are still rebuilding, and now they seem focused on building around their newest top pick, Ben Simmons. Okafor has had a few off-court issues, including a street fight incident last November, so the team may want to move him away ahead of more potential problems.
One of the biggest hindrances for Toronto last postseason was an injury to their big man, Jonas Valanciunas. During their series against the Miami Heat, Valanciunas came up with an ankle sprain in Game 3. The team still went on to win the series in seven games, but they may have moved on to face the Cleveland Cavaliers quicker if they had a big man on the court. Okafor would certainly give them that.
The Sixers big man has had an injury concern, though. Last season, he played in just 53 games, ending his season early after a torn meniscus in his right knee. Prior to that, he had missed six games due to the suspension for his street fight. However, one has to believe that he is capable of putting up improved numbers should he have an ideal opportunity and healthy season. Then again, just a few months ago, Okafor was irritated about the NBA trade rumors and indicated he doesn’t want to be anywhere besides Philly. Even if he’s on the same page with his teammates and management, getting Lowry is certainly an attractive deal.
For those wondering, iSports Times indicates that this deal would work after running it through ESPN’s Trade Machine. It could give the Sixers a veteran star to help shape the future of this team. Lowry is also from the Philadelphia area and played for Villanova. The Trade Machine projects it would give Philadelphia four more wins. That’s not quite an NBA Playoffs appearance, and it’s always possible they could surprise with more than four wins if they had a star like Lowry and a new star like Ben Simmons on the same team.
For the Raptors, it would give Toronto a big man who could add more rebounding, defense, and offense in the paint. They would need to gamble on the possible off-court problems. There’s always the potential for another injury, and top big men draft picks have had plenty over the past seasons, including Nerlens Noel and former top pick Greg Oden. The Trade Machine also projected that this particular deal would actually set the Toronto Raptors back in terms of record, giving them seven fewer wins.
That’s probably the biggest sticking point. While most teams are looking for anything extra to help them compete with the current champions, the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Raptors most likely will hold on to their two aces, Lowry and DeRozan. Toronto was able to take the Cavs to six games in a valiant effort against the eventual champs. Much of that should be credited to the two guards, so despite any reported NBA trade rumors, it seems like they will stay right where they are.
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