Toronto Raptors: 76ers Expected to Make a Move for Kyle Lowry

Dec 14, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry (7) dribbles past Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) during the first quarter at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 14, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry (7) dribbles past Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) during the first quarter at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports /

ESPN’s Zach Lowe predicts the 76ers will make a run of pending free agent Kyle Lowry, but do they actually have a chance at signing the Toronto Raptors two-time All-Star?

The Toronto Raptors are in the midst of their best start in franchise history, helped in large part by one of the NBA’s most efficient offences of all time. However, some people are already looking towards the future of one of the most important components on their roster.

As most Raptors’ fans are aware, Kyle Lowry‘s contract is up after this season. Yes, he has a $12 million player option for 2017-18, but is expected to forgo this, as he looks for what will likely be the final major deal of his NBA career.

In this respect, some interesting speculation has emerged, courtesy of ESPN’s Zach Lowe. Speaking on his podcast, Lowe firmly believes the Philadelphia 76ers will make a run at Lowry this summer.

Now on the surface at least, it’s entirely understandable for people to dismiss this possibility, even if the 76ers do make a move for the Raptors’ point guard. After all, why would he want to leave the stability of one of the best franchises in the league, to join a team which has been awful in recent seasons?

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However, in the interest of objectivity, there are a few reasons not to entirely dismiss the 76ers’ likely interest out of hand. The first comes down to the fact Lowry is originally from Philadelphia.

The 30-year old still has ties to the community, as evidenced by recently organizing a toy drive with his wife, in his hometown. In this respect, you could imagine him being a little intrigued by the possibility of turning around the fortunes of the franchise.

The second reason comes down to 76ers’ president and general manager Bryan Colangelo, who made the trade to bring Lowry to Toronto. You assume he is grateful to Colangelo for helping to turn his career around, and there could conceivably be a sense of loyalty to the former Raptors’ GM.

The final reason purely comes down to money, as in the 76ers will have a significant amount of cap space for next season. Combined with their need for a top level starting point guard, there is every chance they will offer the max deal the former first round draft pick will more than likely be looking for.

Having said all this, it is still tough to imagine Lowry wanting to leave the Raptors in the summer. Similarly, why would the front office willingly let him go, with the team currently enjoying the most productive period in franchise history?

Whatever loyalty the two-time All-Star may have to his hometown or Colangelo, this will surely also be the case with Toronto. Before he joined the Raptors, he was renowned as a talented, but difficult player to deal with.

Toronto Raptors
Sep 26, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Toronto Raptors head coach Dwane Casey poses with guards DeMar DeRozan (10) and Kyle Lowry (7) during media day at BioSteel Centre. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports /

While having this same conundrum when he first arrived in Toronto, Lowry eventually formed a close relationship with his coach, Dwane Casey. He also shares a similar bond with DeMar DeRozan, as they have developed into one of the best backcourt duos in the NBA.

Before this season, there were some question about if the Raptors would be prepared to offer the 2016 Summer Olympics Gold medalist a max deal in the summer. The theory was he was coming off the best season of his career, wasn’t getting any younger and would surely only trend in one direction.

However, based on the first 29 games of the 2016-17 campaign, any concerns should have faded away. As things stand, Lowry is playing better than ever, and is on course to set personal bests in several categories.

Overall, no one is denying Lowry will receive considerable interest from the 76ers, and indeed other teams around the NBA. However, it is tough to envision a scenario where he will willingly leave the Raptors after this season.

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What do you make of Lowe’s prediction? Are you concerned about the 76ers — or indeed anyone — signing Lowry? Or are you confident he will remain in Toronto past this season? Share your thoughts in the comments section.