It's been almost three months since the NBA trade deadline and the Toronto Raptors made the decision to hold onto Kyle Lowry.
Based on how the season ended for Toronto, it's been fair to criticize Masai Ujiri and Bobby Webster for how they handled the situation. Lowry played just nine of Toronto's final 27 games following the trade deadline. It was a shame to see the 35-year-old still extremely talented guard sidelined when someone else could have used him. The Raptors have had to answer for that decision, one that will only look worse if Lowry leaves in free agency this summer.
But now, with the benefit of hindsight, it's clear the other parties involved in the negotiations, the Miami Heat, Los Angeles Lakers, and Philadelphia 76ers have to answer for their decision not to trade for Lowry.
It's still a little unclear exactly what the 76ers were willing to part with for Lowry, but Toronto reportedly wanted Tyrese Maxey, Matisse Thybulle, and first-round picks for their lead guard. It was a request Daryl Morey seemed to suggest was outlandish following the trade deadline.
Instead of paying up for the former NBA champion, the 76ers opted to go bargain shopping, acquiring George Hill from Oklahoma City without giving away much in terms of assets.
Well, things didn't entirely go as planned for Morey and the 76ers who were bounced from the playoffs by the Atlanta Hawks in Game 7 on Sunday night. Hill was -15 in 21 minutes and scored three points on 1-for-3 shooting in the game. He also played just three minutes in the pivitol four quarter for Phildalphia.
While Maxey and Tybulle did log some minutes throughout the series, neither of them had the kind of impact Lowry could have had. At least neither of them were able to stop the 76ers from blowing a 26-point lead in Game 5, something Lowry certainly would have been able to help prevent, if not stop entirely.
If Lowry signs with any of Miami, Los Angeles, or Philadelphia this offseason maybe keeping those young prospects around will have been worth it. Maybe a few months of Lowry wasn't truly worth Toronto's asking price, but considering how talented those three teams were it's hard not to wonder if Lowry could have been the difference between celebrating a championship and heading into an offseason full of questions.