Since the departure of Kawhi Leonard in free agency, rumors have been continuously swirling around the reigning NBA champion Toronto Raptors. The core of Kyle Lowry, Marc Gasol, Serge Ibaka, and Pascal Siakam may be enough to extend the Raptors' playoff streak, but without Leonard on their roster, it remains a big question mark if they have what it takes to defend their throne in the 2019-20 season.
If they struggle early in the upcoming season, most people believe that the Raptors will consider taking a different route and trade some of their veterans before the February trade deadline.
As of now, one of the top trade candidates in Toronto is All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry. In a recent appearance on The Lowe Post, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN discussed several topics, including the rumors surrounding Lowry and his future with the Raptors. Wojnarowski revealed that one of the major reasons why the Raptors decided to give Lowry a one-year, $31 million contract extension is to make him a more valuable trade asset next year.
"A lot of the reason Toronto signed him to the deal is he is easier to trade under contract for next year at $31 million," Wojnarowski said, as quoted by NBC Sports Bay Area.Once Kyle Lowry officially becomes available on the trading block, he is expected to receive strong interest from legitimate playoff contenders who are in dire need of a backcourt boost. According to Wojnarowski, one of the potential landing spots for Lowry is the Los Angeles Clippers. After the successful acquisition of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George this summer, the Clippers have turned themselves from a mediocre team to a legitimate title contender in the deep Western Conference.
However, even though they are currently the favorite to bring home the Larry O'Brien Trophy in the 2019-20 NBA season, it still makes sense for the Clippers to continue making roster improvements, especially knowing that they will be facing tough competition in the Western Conference. Kyle Lowry would undeniably be an upgrade for Patrick Beverley at the point guard position.
Though he's no longer in his prime, Kyle Lowry could still play at a high level and would give the Clippers another reliable scoring option behind Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. Last season, the 33-year-old point guard averaged 14.2 points, 4.8 rebounds, 8.7 assists, and 1.4 steals, while shooting 41.1 percent from the field, and 34.7 percent from beyond the arc. With his ability to excel in an off-ball capacity, Lowry won't have a hard time making himself fit alongside Leonard and George in Los Angeles.
The Clippers may have almost emptied their war chest of first-round picks in their recent deal with the Oklahoma City Thunder, but they still have enough trade assets to acquire Kyle Lowry from the Raptors. In the potential deal, the Clippers could offer a trade package centered on Landry Shamet to the Raptors in exchange for Lowry.