The Miami Heat on Tuesday traded Kyle Lowry and a future first-round pick to the Charlotte Hornets in exchange for Terry Rozier, as first reported by Shams Charania of The Athletic. Rozier is currently averaging 23.2 points, 3.9 rebounds, 6.6 assists and 1.1 steals per game this season. Miami, already one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference, got significantly better by acquiring Rozier.
The Philadelphia 76ers could also potentially benefit from this trade. There is a strong chance the Hornets eventually decide to buy out Lowry’s contract. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting Charlotte has “no immediate plans to work on a buyout with Lowry” as they are attempting to swing him in another trade before the Feb. 8 NBA trade deadline.
Despite that report, the Hornets are unlikely to find an interested trade partner. Any team trading for Lowry would have to match his $29.7 million salary. The Sixers could pair expiring contracts like Marcus Morris Sr. ($17.1 million) and Robert Covington ($11.7 million) to match salaries. However, why would the Sixers give up assets to trade for someone who will likely be bought out at some point over the next few weeks?
According to a report from Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports, the Sixers “currently appear to be a real possibility” to sign Lowry if he becomes available in the buyout market. Due to the NBA’s new collective bargaining agreement, teams over any salary-cap apron will not be able to sign players on the buyout market who were previously making more than the non-taxpayer mid-level exception ($12.4 million for this season). That rules out a lot of the top teams in the league – such as the Denver Nuggets, Phoenix Suns, Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics among others – from the Lowry buyout sweepstakes. The Sixers currently have roughly $2.7 million in space under the first luxury tax apron. The Sixers have not yet dipped into their mid-level exception this season and therefore are also in a position to offer Lowry more money than most other contending teams.
If the Sixers sign Lowry, the Philadelphia native would be coming back to play in his hometown. The 37-year old is from Philadelphia and played his college ball at Villanova. In addition to returning to his roots, Lowry would also be reuniting with head coach Nick Nurse from their days together on the Toronto Raptors.
Lowry, while in the latter stages of his career, is still capable of being a productive role player. The 18-year veteran is averaging 8.2 points, 3.5 rebounds, 4 assists and 1.1 steals in 28 minutes per game so far this season. He is also an above average outside shooter, connecting on 38.5% of his attempts from long distance this season. Lowry would be a solid addition to the Sixers’ second unit due to his mixture of playmaking, outside shooting and defense. The Sixers’ roster is in desperate need of another ball handler, and Lowry would instantly help on that front.
The Sixers should not be interested in trading for Lowry. However, they are in prime position to sign him if he becomes available on the buyout market. If Charlotte does release him, the Sixers should jump at the opportunity to add him to the roster.