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5RSN Exclusive: Kyle Lowry Looking for Deal in Range of 3 Years/$90 Million

(With Brady Hawk)

Following up on my report of Brandon Ingram’s interest in Miami, the Heat are still very much in on Kyle Lowry, however, the deal he is looking for is in the range of $90 Million over 3 years.

In my personal opinion, I feel that the 3rd year has to be fully guaranteed. Some on the Heat are confident, but I still wouldn’t count out the Philadelphia 76ers or the Los Angeles Lakers.

With Miami’s continued pursuit of a point guard this off-season, their eyes will be locked on this free agent market, which is headlined by Lowry, with guys like Mike Conley closely following behind.

Will they be willing to make that commitment? Time will only tell, but as the clock is ticking on Jimmy Butler’s timeline, a veteran point guard who can score at all three-levels, run the offense, and defend must be a top priority. Combining that with his close relationship with Butler makes the situation even more interesting.

While some extra options and avenues seem to be opening up a bit, the focus on Lowry will remain, while other possibilities will still be on the table as free agency grows closer and closer.

Kyle Lowry’s Fit with Heat More than a Jimmy Butler Relationship

Kyle Lowry’s fit with the Miami Heat isn’t just being discussed because he’s the Godfather of Jimmy Butler’s daughter. Of course that’s the starting point, since it draws interest from a player like Lowry, but it seems like there are many more reasons for this to be a seamless fit.

The Heat have a bunch of needs, and when evaluating Lowry as a player, he fills a bunch of those things that Miami has missed. That is exactly what we will be diving into here. Aside from the exact numbers in a contract and surrounding pieces, what would he give Miami next season?

Let’s start here…

PnR Ball-Handler

Before talking Lowry’s strengths, the Heat’s weaknesses must be highlighted. Something I’ve talked about constantly is Miami’s lack of a pick and roll ball-handler. They had a guy in Kendrick Nunn who can get to the mid-range. A guy in Tyler Herro who can make the occasional pull-up triple. And a guy in Goran Dragic who could drive hard to the basket for a physical bucket.

But they don’t have somebody who can do more than one of those things.

When looking at that first round series against Milwaukee, a major key for their struggles was that certain player’s area of weakness became apparent rather quickly. The Bucks forced the Heat to take shots that they gave them. And well, Lowry navigates offensively on his terms.

In the clip above, we see Lowry run the PnR, leading to a lob and finish, but that aspect I’m going to dive into a little more down the line since that’s probably the most important part of the offensive fit. But staying on this topic, 28th in PPP when the ball-handler has the ball in the pick and roll would not be the case if Lowry was dissecting defenses.

The reason that most of the clips you’ll see in this piece are from the Raptors-Lakers game is to show that pulling highlight moments isn’t the point of this explanation. In fact, this game was Lowry’s last game of the season, showing that this is very recent film. Spoiler alert: he finished that game with 37 points and 11 assists.

Strong Attacking and Free Throw Antics

Another missing piece to this Heat offense is a secondary attacker, which has been harped on all season, then exposed come playoff time. When a team cuts off the head of the snake, in Jimmy Butler, there’s nobody else to attack in space. Combine that with the constant off-ball denial the Bucks through at Miami, and you have a very troubled offense.

Not only is Lowry a capable attacker, he’s a physical and ruthless attacker. Those two things translate to a good amount of free throw attempts, which took a bit of a dip this season from the year prior.

We all know that’s what Butler’s game is based on as well, which makes that combo so interesting. Something that’s always mentioned is that Butler plays at his own speed, and a major reason for that is he can slow the game down by turning it into a free throw competition. Lowry mirrors that same play-style, and I think that can benefit the franchise centerpiece.

Bam Adebayo improved in every area of his game this season, but of course, many seem to harp on the post-season lack of aggression more than anything. That aside, there’s no doubt he’s in line for another step forward with his offensive game. And the best way to propel that is to put two savvy vets next to him to control the pace, and allow him to play his game.

We’ve seen Butler’s gravity give Adebayo plenty of open elbow jumpers, and it feels like Lowry can bring that same element. Allowing Butler to get some rest in a game without the whole offense crumbling means that Lowry and Adebayo’s chemistry will be huge, and both of their play-styles feel like they would mesh well.

Oh, a Point Guard?

On my list of off-season needs, I had point guard very high. This kind of goes hand in hand with the PnR ball-handler discussion, but this expands even further. Why is that? Well, just take a look at the clip above.

Lowry is moving downhill with his roller, one defender trailing and the other containing. He stops at the free throw line, jabs and uses a ball-fake to force Montrezl Harrell to drop. They both fell for the fake, and it gave Lowry more than enough space to pull-up into a shot that he’s made plenty of times over his career.

But, Lowry is always reading a defense one rotation ahead. He saw LeBron James duck all the way into the paint for a possible tag/cut-off, and Markieff Morris rise with Pascal Siakam which eliminates his ability to split the difference with the corner. Lowry makes the pass to the corner for an open triple.

The reason that I’m diving into this play so deeply is because this is what the Heat miss. It shouldn’t be Butler and Adebayo creating for others each and every play, since that just restricts their own effectiveness in the offense. Yes, they will also look out for others as play-makers since that’s their game, but at times it seems like they’re forced into that role.

With that passing ability and those different offensive scoring techniques, it allows Erik Spoelstra to be much more creative in how he chooses to run his offense. If they retain Duncan Robinson, as I expect them to, they can diversify their sets a lot more with a point guard of Lowry’s caliber.

Shooting Spots

After hitting on a bunch of his ways of scoring, it’s important to note the part of the offense that is essential next to Miami’s two stars. When you’re two best players aren’t good three-point shooters, that third acquisition has to have that ability in his bag.

He has just that, and while we’re discussing Coach Spo’s creativity with him, this is where that comes into play. When looking at the clips above, we see Lowry’s ability to score off the dribble with step-backs, side-steps, and obviously, the pump-fake until the defender jumps technique.

He got the foul call and knocked down the three, which is not something we’ve seen a lot of this season since most of Miami’s triples occur with off-ball screening, dribble hand-offs, or pick and roll pull-ups.

But that’s not why Spo can get creative, since it’s the second clip that brings that point alive. After an offensive rebound, they reset offense and Lowry comes off a DHO for a three. Having a player that is a threat off the dribble, as well as off the ball is quite the player to add to the offense.

Although I’m showcasing a DHO that ended in this fashion, he seems so comfortable in that set since he loves to play-make on the move. The over-the-head pass from the wing to the elbow was his biggest strength in that action, and well, we all know who would be stationed at that elbow: Bam Adebayo.

How does Butler Benefit?

Adebayo’s been a sticking point within the offense during this Lowry discussion, but how would Butler actually benefit? Other than the stuff about a secondary attacker and a guy who can control lineups when he goes to the sideline, I see the most effectiveness with them running stuff together.

We saw Dragic-Butler PnR’s become one of their best offensive sets in the regular season, which just shows the way they were trending offensively. As seen above, Dragic would usually lob it up to Butler as high as possible, knowing he’d climb the ladder and come down with it at the basket.

They also ran a bunch of inverted PnR’s with Dragic as the screener which worked just as well. Dragic setting the angled screen for Butler to go downhill with a guard switching onto him always ended in a positive result.

This is important to note because Lowry/Butler combinations can be even more effective. He’s a craftier passer when getting in the mid-range area, since it’s not just the lob pass that is the option. He also has a quicker pull-up that constantly keeps defenders on their toes. They both have had major success in that area over their careers, which makes me think we’d see plenty of lineups with 3 floor spacers to give them two the middle of the floor to go to work.

Adding Some Defense

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This entire piece has been offense driven, mostly since that’s where the actual fit can be discussed. As a whole, we already know what Lowry brings on the defensive end at the point of attack, which makes the acquisition even more intriguing.

He’s physical with opposing guards, he can force them to become frustrated, and even has success in the post with his wide frame. All of these elements lead to something that Miami lacked for most of the season which is transition offense.

Referring back to Lowry’s ability to get to the charity stripe, a lot of that comes from fast-break opportunities where he takes the contact to get some points. Miami’s guard play this season was a lot of avoiding contact to try and score, which becomes an issue when things tighten up in the post-season.

As showcased in this piece, it’s clear that Lowry’s fit is much more than a relationship with Butler, but well, that’s where this topic stems from. They know that they have a good shot at him due to the fact it’s intriguing to come play with a player and an organization that shares the same mentality that he does.

The next step would be to round out the supporting cast to become an Eastern Conference contender, but that’s a decent start. We’ll see what happens with that type of stuff as we approach the off-season, but for now, one thing is clear: Lowry can change a bunch of things for the Miami Heat.

How Would Kyle Lowry Fit with the Miami Heat?

The Kyle Lowry discussions have gained more and more traction after Kevin O’Connor of the Ringer reported that league sources say the Heat are pursuing a deal for Lowry harder than anyone. So, that obviously means the overall chatter has been about the pieces included in a deal, the long-term situation, and of course, the immediate fit.

To that point, it seems necessary to dive into the areas of this team that Lowry would be able to improve upon arrival. For starters, the relationship with Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo makes this even more interesting, while that big 3 can be the one counter to the Brooklyn Nets big 3.

It’s no surprise that the Nets will be able to score the ball at will when fully healthy, so why not try to rival that with a defensive core if you’re the Miami Heat? And well, although there is optimism about the offense returning to form, the defense seems to have the most potential.

This defensive trio can clearly wreck havoc on a night to night basis, so let’s dive into the opposite side of the ball to see the offensive adjustments if a Lowry pick-up was made.

– The extra attacker, the missing piece

Another article, another discussion about Miami’s need for an attacker. The three-point shooting has been harped on constantly over the last few games, but it’s actually magnified the point about the absence of a downhill threat next to Butler.

The reason that the main focus for Miami’s current personnel is to keep shooting is since they don’t have anything else to adjust to. They’ve got a few shooters who have trouble with finding separation at times, which leads to chaos when shots aren’t falling.

So, this leads us right into the Lowry fit, since as seen above, he gets the ball in transition and immediately gets to the rim with one of the league’s most versatile defenders guarding him. There’s a reason that so many transition plays end up in pull-up threes or setting up half-court offense. It’s because many players don’t have that in their arsenal at this stage, which occurs more and more when Butler is off the floor or even off the ball.

He works angles as an attacker as well, which is exactly what Butler does for Miami on a consistent basis. He’s a high IQ guy who can find favorable match-ups, as seen here when he turned the corner to force Kelly Olynyk to switch onto him.

Now, this is not one of those instances where you throw around the term “high IQ” as a viable description. It’s actually to showcase his knowledge of not only the game, but the league. He can control the pacing, much like Butler, by getting to the line late in games or utilizing exaggerated movements to maybe work an official.

– The Added Shooting Element

Well, here we are again, talking about shooting. Except this time it’s being discussed in a positive manner, since Lowry has been having a good year shooting from beyond the arc. He can be trusted to hit some catch and shoot triples as seen in that video clip, but more importantly, the above the break threes are the major addition.

Those three balls have gone from a major strength to a major weakness for the Miami Heat, which is halted even more with the limited offensive options that I discussed earlier. Even when discussing a lot of the Heat’s shooters during their hot stretches, they still create issues in other areas of the game.

But Lowry brings a defensive presence, a trusted play-making ability, and the primary element, a nightly closer.

– The Spo/Lowry duo leading to creativity

After depicting some of the obvious elements to Lowry’s fit with Miami, it’s time to discuss arguably the most intirguing duo if this deal was made: Erik Spoelstra and Kyle Lowry.

While I’ve discussed Butler and Lowry quite a lot, Bam Adebayo is still going to be the primary ball-handler and play-maker in most of the Heat’s advanced sets. Now, this means Lowry can be utilized in a completely different way off the ball, which seems to benefit him quite a lot.

If you are having trouble imagining what this may look like, watch the clip above while replacing Fred VanVleet with Butler and OG Anunoby with Adebayo.

I’ll wait.

Okay good, so now you see the Spoelstra element to this addition.

– The need for a “go get a bucket” guy

The Heat are 22nd in the NBA in points per possession in isolation, while being 3rd in points per possession off a screen. Now, that stat basically screams the lack of a guy who can create for himself to just get a bucket.

This in no way means Lowry would be utilized in an isolation fashion, but it does mean that he’s capable of doing so in a stagnant offense. In the clip above, Lowry makes a tough turnaround jumper with Butler blanketing him, which is the exact offensive element that this team misses when Butler isn’t trucking people to the basket.

Lastly, it’s important to analyze these type of things in a very simple way at times, since overthinking it may fog the original thought. And well, the simple takeaway is that if you have a chance to insert a six time All-Star and NBA champion next to Butler and Adebayo, it’s a natural fit.

Is A Miami Heat Trade for Kyle Lowry the Most Ideal Pick-Up?

There’s been a lot of discussion about possible trade options for the Miami Heat, including Victor Oladipo and Jrue Holiday, but is Kyle Lowry the best fit?

I believe he is. For one, there’s a known relationship between Lowry and Jimmy Butler. He’s the type of player that Jimmy would love to play with as well, since he’s one of those gritty and tough players.

Miami is also in need of a defensive guard, and with Kyle Lowry, you know you are getting that and more. He’s a guy that you can trust to guard an opposing point guard, which ultimately takes a lot of pressure off Jimmy Butler.

Jimmy would also get some pressure taken off of him on the offensive side of the ball. Lowry averaged 19 points a game this past season, while hitting about 3 threes a game.

The fitting factor with Kyle Lowry on this team is obvious, since he fits the culture mold, but what does this effect?

For one, the Toronto Raptors will not just be giving Lowry away for free. But, the reason they will be willing to make this trade is because they will need to sign Fred VanVleet, and it’s clear that’s the route they will go for their future.

Miami’s trade package that people have discussed lately includes Kendrick Nunn, Kelly Olynyk, the 20th pick, and possibly KZ Okpala. This may seem like a lot for a 35 year old Kyle Lowry, but if Miami was to trade for him, they’d definitely find a way to give up much less than all of these assets.

Another trade that has been discussed is giving up much less, but sending Duncan Robinson to Toronto. Once again, I would not include Duncan in this type of trade, and I don’t believe Miami would either.

It impacts Miami’s cap space for this season as well. Kyle Lowry is going into the last year of his deal, which is worth $30 Million, and could impact possible re-signings for Miami. The only positive thing though is that it wouldn’t impact Miami’s run at Giannis Antetokounmpo in 2021, since it will be off the books.

Would Miami be willing to give all of this up for another run at an NBA Championship next season?

Well, I’m not sure, but it’s clear that Pat Riley isn’t afraid to make moves to win now.

Although you may be losing some key role pieces, you’d still have a core of Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, Kyle Lowry, Tyler Herro, and Duncan Robinson. And I believe that you can compete for a title with that core.

Miami Heat: Rebounding will be crucial against Raptors

The Miami Heat are set to battle the Toronto Raptors in a battle of the second and third-seeded teams in the Eastern Conference. There are certainly many storylines to watch in this game, as both teams have talent and stars at several positions. With what looks like an even matchup on paper, the margin for error shrinks. This is something that could work to the Miami Heat’s advantage in one area in particular: rebounding.

Toronto has given up the second-most rebounds in the NBA. With 48.5 per game allowed on the season, they trail only the Chicago Bulls in that category. The 13.2 offensive rebounds are the most-allowed in the NBA and they’re tied with the Cleveland Cavaliers for 17th in most defensive rebounds with 35.4.

The Miami Heat have certainly done their part in keeping opponents off the glass. They allow the least amount of defensive rebounds per game with 31.2 per contest. They also only allow 9.3 rebounds per contest on the offensive glass.

For what it’s worth, the Miami Heat are 20th in the NBA 44.6 rebounds per game. They average nine rebounds on the offensive glass and 35.6 rebounds defensively.

Opportunities for second-chance points for Miami Heat

The lack of rebounding on the part of Toronto and Miami’s willingness to crash the offensive glass may work out in their favor. This may lead to second-chance points: a category that Miami needs to be better in. They rank 21st in the NBA with 12.4 second-chance points per game.

Miami put together a good rebounding game on Sunday against Brooklyn.  Outrebounding the nets 62-56, they certainly were able to win the battle on the glass. Winning that same battle will be important for Miami on Tuesday night. This Toronto team is extremely talented, especially on the perimeter. Bam Adebayo had 16 rebounds on Sunday night,leading the way for Miami. He leads the team in rebounds and 10.6 per game on the season. Expect him to play a crucial role on Tuesday night.

This will be a great test for the Miami Heat and a win against the Raptors will add another impressive notch to their 2019 season. But in order to do that, they have to rebound.