Kyle Lowry is headed to the Heat, the guard confirmed in a Twitter post Monday. He will reportedly sign a three-year, $90 million deal with Miami, which is acquiring the 35-year old via a sign-and-trade. Toronto will reportedly receive Goran Dragić, Precious Achiuwa and a second-round pick to complete the deal. Lowry, 35, averaged 17.2 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 7.3 assists a game for the Raptors last season. Let’s grade the signing for the Heat.
On one hand, Lowry was the best point guard on the free agent market, heavily coveted by the Mavericks and Pelicans in addition to the Heat. With that level of interest, Lowry was going to be able to command a sizable salary as well as the third year on his contract. On the other hand, Miami is committing a lot of cap space to a player who will be 38 years old in the final season of this deal. That gives the Heat a rather expensive core of Lowry, Jimmy Butler (who will reportedly sign a max extension), Bam Adebayo, and Duncan Robinson (who signed a five-year, $90 million deal Monday).
Of course, it’s very easy to focus on the end of a big contract as opposed to the short term. And Miami is quickly set up for success in the immediate future. Lowry brings them a more well-rounded presence at point guard. Dragić was a franchise favorite, but he was picked on defensively in the playoffs and struggled with injuries in 2021. Lowry will be a more than adequate pick-and-roll partner for Adebayo, and he should relieve Butler of his rather large playmaking burden. His impact could be even bigger on the other end of the floor. Lowry offers much better defense at the point of attack than Dragić did, which should trickle down to the rest of Miami’s lineup. Not forcing Bam to switch can keep him closer to the rim for rebounds and Butler can now get a break from guarding some better perimeter guards, for example.
Dedicating so much cap space to an aging guard who plays a physical style will always be a little dicey. Still, after a first-round sweep at the hands of the Bucks, the Heat couldn’t afford to stand pat this summer. Adding Lowry should put the Heat significantly closer to the top half of the conference.