The Oklahoma City Thunder’s 2019 NBA offseason suddenly turned into chaos when their best players – Russell Westbrook and Paul George – demanded separate trades. Though they managed to acquire veterans that would help them remain competitive in the Western Conference in the 2019-20 NBA season, the Thunder looked determined to undergo a full-scale rebuild after losing Westbrook and George. As of now, the Thunder are highly expected to trade their veterans and focus on the development of their young players.
Among the top trade candidates in Oklahoma City right now is veteran point guard Chris Paul. However, though he would be an incredible addition to legitimate playoff contenders who need a backcourt boost, Paul’s massive contract is making teams think twice before engaging in a trade deal with the Thunder. In a recent appearance on The Woj Pod, Zach Lowe of ESPN said if they don’t want to absorb the three years and $124 million left on his contract, Paul’s suitors should keep an eye on Kyle Lowry and his situation with the reigning NBA champions, the Toronto Raptors.
“If I were a team that was sniffing around Chris Paul, what I would really be rooting for is for Toronto to get off to a shaky start and decide to bail out of the season and make Kyle Lowry available,” Lowe said, as quoted by Heat Nation.
“Because to me, Kyle Lowry is a little bit younger, the mileage isn’t the same, the health issues haven’t been the same. He is much more comfortable playing off the ball, which makes him a fit with every superstar in the league.”
Aside from having a shorter contract than Chris Paul, Kyle Lowry is younger and has dealt with lesser health issues in the past years. What makes him a more intriguing acquisition for legitimate title contenders is his ability to excel in an off-ball capacity, making it easier for him to share the court with other NBA superstars. Lowe believes that once Lowry becomes officially available on the trade market, he would receive plenty of interest from several NBA teams, including the Miami Heat and the Detroit Pistons.
“If I’m Miami, Detroit, you could name a lot of teams,” Lowe said.
As of now, the Raptors haven’t shown any sign that they are planning to put Kyle Lowry on the trading block. As a matter of fact, the Raptors recently gave Lowry a one-year, $31 million contract extension. Despite losing their best player, Kawhi Leonard, in the 2019 NBA free agency, the Raptors are determined to defend their throne in the 2019-20 NBA season. However, as Lowe noted, if the Raptors struggle earlier in the upcoming season, they could have a huge change in their plans and make their veterans, including Lowry, available on the trade market before the 2020 February NBA trade deadline.