The departure of Kawhi Leonard from the Toronto Raptors has undeniably changed the NBA landscape. Without Leonard on their roster, it remains a big question mark if the Raptors still have what it takes to fully dominate the Eastern Conference and bring home their second Larry O’Brien trophy. Aside from their chances of defending their throne in the 2019-20 NBA season, Leonard’s decision to leave the Raptors may also affect Kyle Lowry’s future in Toronto.
The Raptors may not be showing any indication that they intend to part ways with Kyle Lowry. However, if they struggle in the first half of the 2019-20 NBA season, it is highly likely that they will explore the possibility of trading the All-Star point guard before the 2020 February NBA trade deadline. According to Preston Ellis of Bleacher Report, one of the NBA teams who could express interest in trading for Lowry is the Minnesota Timberwolves.
In the proposed trade deal, the Timberwolves will be sending a trade package including Jeff Teague, Gorgui Dieng, a top-eight protected 2020 first-round pick, and 2020 and 2022 second-round picks to the Raptors in exchange for Kyle Lowry. For the deal to work under the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement, the Timberwolves will be needing to add more players to match the Raptors’ outgoing salary. If the trade becomes a reality, it will help both teams in filling up the needs to improve on their roster.
“With two years and $33.5 million remaining on his deal, Gorgui Dieng looms as the holdup in this transaction that has Minnesota’s 2020 first-rounder as the carrot to entice Raptors president Masai Ujiri. Teague keeps the Raptors afloat and comes off the books in the summer of 2020 along with Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka. If the Raptors wish to contend in the eastern conference with these three expiring veterans they can certainly do that and be gifted a significant amount of cap space in 2020 for their trouble. Or, they can move from their expirings collecting inflated contracts attached to assets for their trouble.”
Kyle Lowry brought the Larry O'B back to North Philly. Right after the Raptors won the title, Lowry said, "I'm taking the trophy to the hood." pic.twitter.com/OpX3vRkY6I— Michael Lee (@MrMichaelLee) August 23, 2019
The deal would enable the Raptors to acquire multiple future draft picks instead of losing Kyle Lowry in the summer of 2020 as an unrestricted free agent without getting anything in return. The picks would allow them to add young and promising talents that could help Pascal Siakam bring the team back to title contention.
Meanwhile, the potential acquisition of Kyle Lowry would strengthen the Timberwolves’ chance of returning to the Western Conference Playoffs next season. Though he’s already 33, Lowry would still be an incredible addition to the Timberwolves, giving them an All-Star caliber point guard with plenty of playoff experience. Aside from elevating the ceiling of Karl-Anthony Towns’ game, Ellis believes that trading for Lowry would also help the Timberwolves raise Andrew Wiggins’ play and start living up to expectations from the massive contract he signed with the team.