Trade season is in full swing, but the Cleveland Cavaliers should not jump into just any possible deal in light of the most recent headlining deal.
Only six days have passed in the NBA following the three-team swap that sent Pascal Siakam from the Toronto Raptors to the Indiana Pacers. The latter also got a future second-round pick from the New Orleans Pelicans. The Raptors made off with Bruce Brown, Jordan Nwora, two first-round picks, a conditional FRP in 2026 from Indiana and Kira Lewis from the Pelicans.
Tuesday morning, the Miami Heat sent Kyle Lowry and a protected 2027 first-round pick to the Charlotte Hornets for Terry Rozier. The Heat is better off with someone having one of his finest seasons, who scores 23.2 points a night on a slightly below-average effective field goal percentage. And one of its most disappointing experiments with an old, small and overweight guard that happened because he is best buddies with Jimmy Butler, has concluded.
Meanwhile, the Hornets’ fire sale has started, and Lowry’s future is uncertain. Charlotte will reportedly seek another trade partner for Lowry's services before beginning discussions for a buyout agreement.
Allow me to provide some counsel. Gratis.
Why the Cavaliers should avoid a swing at Lowry
If Lowry is on the move via trade or buyout, the Cleveland Cavaliers should look the other way. Usually, having a Hall of Fame player in the locker room is a plus, but he was unplayable and unhappy as a reserve. His role would be no different with the Cavaliers, given their current backcourt rotation.
Days before management traded him to Charlotte, he expressed the desire to return to the opening group after getting moved to the bench against the Atlanta Hawks. “Hopefully, it was a one-game thing for me, and I can get back in the starting lineup and be able to do what I’ve done this year.”
He said that with a straight face in the locker room.
In short, it was never going to happen. Lowry refuses to attack the rim, and if he is not making 3-pointers (two-thirds of his attempts) or passing to the open man in transition, he is often useless. As a result, the Heat’s offense was playing four-on-five.
Defensively, he must be hidden in the corner or on the player who can’t put the ball on the floor. Additionally, he developed the poor habit of overhelping off the arc when opponents attacked through pick and roll, forcing a teammate to cover him with a switch, drop or trap. His days as a point-of-attack bulldog are over. Now, keeping him on the floor gives rivals an option to hunt.
Bringing him into the Land would be a major disservice to the promising developmental diamond Craig Porter Jr. While the Wine and Gold have dealt with injuries to Darius Garland (fractured jaw) and Evan Mobley (knee), Porter is eighth in minutes. He puts more pressure on any opposing defense than Lowry because he puts his head down, taking three-and-a-half interior shots per game. Conversely, Lowry averages one paint touch per contest.
At this stage, the best a team could hope for is for Lowry to be a good veteran in the locker room, but he refused to mentor the younglings, and the Heat were not interested in prolonging the relationship. Though Lowry is on an expiring contract, the requirement to add him is too costly given the possible detriments we would bring to the locker room and rotation.
When Lowry is eligible, he should earn a spot in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. He has been an All-Star six times, an All-NBA Third Teamer in 2016 and a champion in 2019 with the Raptors while logging 39,659 minutes, 17,828 points and 7,603 assists in the regular season plus Playoffs. No analysis of the modern value of Kyle Lowry diminishes any of his spectacular feats over his 17-year career. For the Cavs, however, Lowry would be a sorely regretful addition to the team's current construction.
The end of a pro ball career is rarely pretty for most, but plenty do not get as far as Lowry. It may be time for him to tie his sneakers together and hang them over a wire.
Cleveland has a myriad of other trade options to explore before the trade deadline, many of which answer the Cavs' needs better than Lowry could.