Philadelphia 76ers President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey might be happy to see his new team sitting first in the Eastern Conference 31 games into the 2020-2021 NBA season. However, anybody who knows the former Houston Rockets General Manager is aware that there is little chance he's content with the current roster.
Morey said late last month that it's championship or bust for this year's Sixers. That means they have to get better and make upgrades before the playoff push. While it seems unlikely the Sixers go star hunting after missing out on James Harden last month, The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor suggests the 76ers are still keeping an eye on one of the more popular names in the league in Kyle Lowry.
"League sources say Philadelphia, which came up short in its bid for Harden, is still seeking major moves to increase its championship odds," O'Connor wrote on Monday. "The trade market still needs to take shape in the coming weeks, so realistic targets are unclear. But one name to monitor is Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry, a 34-year-old Philadelphia native in the final season of his contract. A veteran perimeter shot-creator is the only piece the Sixers truly lack, and there aren’t many other players on Lowry’s level who are even theoretically available."
For weeks now, Kyle Lowry has been tossed in countless hypothetical trades around the net. As the Toronto Raptors were struggling to impress, it was believed they could eventually start to realize it's simply not their year and cut ties with an aging veteran on a contract year to acquire younger players and draft picks to build towards a new and improved future.
But now I'm not so sure that will be the case. After defeating the top-seeded Sixers while shorthanded on Sunday night, the Raptors improved their record to 16-15, climbing up to the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference. When Lowry trade rumors started, the Raptors weren't even in the playoff hunt. Now, they're a game out from the fourth seed and four games back from the Sixers.
Toronto's season is far from dead. While they could still move forward with the idea of trading Lowry to get value for him now before they potentially lose him for nothing through the free agency market in the offseason, there's a much better chance that the Raptors give it one final shot with the 34-year-old franchise cornerstone.
Will Morey continue to do his due diligence and look into possibly acquiring Lowry for an inevitable playoff run? Of course. Are the chances of it happening actually high, though? Most likely not. Good GMs and Presidents will always monitor the market no matter what, but monitoring doesn't equal negotiating.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter: @JGrasso_