Report: Sixers among the leaders in pursuit of Lowry trade


As with the case with James Harden before he was dealt to Brooklyn, the Sixers continue to be linked with six-time All-Star Kyle Lowry as buzz about a potential trade escalates ahead of Thursday afternoon's trade deadline.

The Heat and Sixers are "leaders in pursuit to acquire Lowry," The Athletic's Shams Charania reported Monday morning. 

On Sunday, The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor reported Miami was "pursuing a deal ... harder than anyone" for Lowry and that the Clippers and Sixers "retain interest." According to O'Connor, Miami is Lowry's preferred destination because of his friendship with Jimmy Butler. 

The New York Times' Marc Stein also reported Sunday that the Heat and Sixers were among the teams that still had interest in Lowry, and that a trade "still looms as a possibility."

The Raptors moving Lowry before the deadline does not appear nearly as inevitable as it was that the Nets would trade Harden. He's a franchise icon and has told reporters he'd like to retire as a Raptor, even if that means signing a one-day contract. Unlike Harden, Lowry is not demanding he be sent elsewhere.

However, Toronto has lost eight consecutive games to fall to 17-25, 11th in the Eastern Conference. The team was recently decimated by the NBA's COVID-19 protocols and has better talent than its record suggests, but the path to championship contention this season looks increasingly unrealistic. 

Lowry, who will turn 35 years old on deadline day, could potentially help the Sixers — or any team that trades for him — in a lot of ways. The Sixers, who lead the Eastern Conference at 30-13, could specifically use his ball handling, facilitation, three-point shooting and leadership.

The Villanova product and Philadelphia native has a $30 million salary this season and will become an unrestricted free agent in the offseason if Toronto does not trade him.

Lowry's teammate Norman Powell is another player who could be on the move before the deadline, especially if Toronto does decide to go through with a Lowry deal. Powell, who has an $11.6 million player option for next season, has averaged a career-high 19.6 points and shot 44.4 percent from three-point range this season.  

Ultimately, the Sixers' pursuit of Lowry might rest on just how much president of basketball operations Daryl Morey is willing to give up in terms of young players — Tyrese Maxey, Matisse Thybulle and Shake Milton are among the Sixers' prospects — and draft picks. 

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