Coming off a 5-9 month of November and having lost their first five games in December, the Toronto Raptors decided it was time to shake things up and dealt Rudy Gay to Sacramento.
The next player to be put on the trading block was Kyle Lowry. The 27-year-old point guard was on an expiring contract and had repeatedly clashed with coaches.
Nonetheless, through the month of November, the fiery veteran was scoring 13.5 points per game on 40.8 percent shooting and averaging 6.3 assists per game. Defensively, Lowry employed his trademark bulldog style of defense to harass opposing point guards, holding them to 98.5 points per 100 possessions.
With Raymond Felton injured and the Knicks five and thirteen, Lowry seemed like a great option to upgrade the point guard position.
But alas, the combination of Toronto’s asking price and James Dolan not wanting to again get snookered by Masai Ujiri, New York walked away from the table and was forced to watch Lowry go on a tear.
For the month of December, Lowry posted averages of 18 points, 8 assists and 4 rebounds per game. He helped lead a Raptors resurgence that currently has the team sitting atop the abysmal Atlantic Division and third place in the East, with a 27-24 record.
While some reports suggest that Ujiri’s preference is to hold on to Lowry for the remainder of the season, as Toronto gears up for what figures to be the team’s first trip to the playoffs in the last five years. Chad Ford reports that the Raptors have gotten aggressive in shopping Lowry.
This has prompted the Knicks to come calling again. While it is unclear what the current asking price is, Toronto’s original demands were at least one first round pick and Tim Hardaway Jr., while Felton would have been included in the deal as well.
New York trading another first round pick to try and find a quick fix would be predictable, but Lowry brings quite a lot to the table. His harassment of opposing point guards and ability to defend pick-and-rolls would be a substantial boost for a Knicks team that struggles mightily against such a commonly used action. His ability to attack the basket would allow him to work well, playing off of Carmelo Anthony and his rebounding skills would help make New York’s transition offense even more effective. Assuming the team was to resign him, Lowry would bring long-term stability to the Knicks point guard position.
It will be interesting to see which direction Ujiri goes in regards to Lowry and just how much value he places on the team finally getting back to the postseason this year.