Miami Heat favored to land Kyle Lowry, interested in DeMar DeRozan
Kyle Lowry averaged 17.2 points, 5.4 rebounds and 7.3 assists on 40% shooting for an under-performing Raptors squad a season ago. Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Could the Miami Heat become the Toronto Raptors of the south? Fresh off Toronto having to play in Florida last season due to COVID-19, two of the greatest players in franchise history could be headed to South Beach.

NBA insider Marc Stein reported on Sunday that the Heat are seemingly favorites to land six-time All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry in what would likely be a sign-and-trade with the Raptors.

In a separate report, Stein noted that the Miami Heat are exploring “pathways” to acquire DeMar DeRozan during NBA free agency.

Interestingly enough, Miami’s decision to pick up the $19.4 million option on Goran Dragic’s contract for the 2021-22 season could make it easier to pry Lowry away from Toronto. On the other hand, teaming the point guard back up with DeRozan seems to be an unlikely scenario.

Presuming that Miami’s long courtship of Lowry results in him joining the 2020 Eastern Conference champions, a sign-and-trade with Toronto would make the most sense.

In this scenario, Dragic and other assets head to Canada in order to make the salaries match and help Miami from a salary-cap perspective. Something such as this might work for both sides, as the Heat would have to entice Toronto with much more than the aging point guard.

  • Miami Heat get: Kyle Lowry
  • Toronto Raptors get: Goran Dragic, Tyler Herro, KZ Okpala

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In terms of finances, it’s all about what Lowry might be seeking to join a championship contender. If it is roughly $25 million annually, this would work out from a salary-cap standpoint. Anything more than that, and it becomes rather difficult for the Heat to pull this off.

However, the decision to decline Andre Iguodala’s $15 million option for the 2021-22 season gives front office head Pat Riley more flexibility.

Lowry, 35, still continues to play at a high level despite his advanced age. He averaged 17.2 points, 5.4 rebounds and 7.3 assists on 40% shooting for an under-performing Raptors squad a season ago. Obviously, Lowry would be an upgrade over Dragic at the point.

The Miami Heat moving off Herro in this trade would be a bitter pill to swallow. However, he’s coming off a disappointing sophomore season and has been bandied about on the trade block over the past several weeks.

Lowry and DeRozan were teammates with the Raptors from 2012-18 before Toronto dealt DeRozan away in the Kawhi Leonard blockbuster. The two obviously have a great on-court relationship. Whether Miami is able to acquire DeRozan remains to be seen.

Recent reports suggest that the four-time All-Star might be willing to return to his Southern California roots and sign a team-friendly deal with the Los Angeles Lakers. After the Lakers acquired Russell Westbrook in a blockbuster trade, pretty much every big-name player has been linked to the 2020 NBA champions.

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As for the Miami Heat, they could potentially offer DeRozan the non-taxpayer mid-level exception. It’s valued at $9.54 million. This would obviously mean that the veteran wing decides to join his former teammate at below-market value.

This article first appeared on Sportsnaut and was syndicated with permission.

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