The Toronto Raptors are reportedly close to completing a trade that would send Kyle Lowry to the New Orleans Pelicans, according to the Toronto Star. The trade would net the Raptors point guard Demarre Carroll and injured center Omer Asik in exchange for Lowry and center Alexis Ajinca. The 31-year old Lowry is an All-Star this season, averaging 18 points, 5 assists and 5 rebounds a night for the Raptors, who sit at the top of the Eastern Conference standings.

The New Orleans Pelicans are in talks to acquire Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry, according to a report from ESPN. The deal, however, is contingent on the Raptors receiving a first round pick in return. The deal could be finalized as soon as Wednesday.

With the trade of Omer Asik to the New Orleans Pelicans, the Houston Rockets have acquired a new center, one that will surely help their playoff push.

The New Orleans Pelicans and Memphis Grizzlies reached an agreement on July 26, just four days before the NBA draft, to send Steven Adams and Eric Bledsoe, as well as two first-round picks — including the No. 10 pick in this year’s draft — from New Orleans to Memphis in exchange for center Jonas Valanciunas and the 17th overall pick in Thursday’s draft.

It seems to be a good deal for both parties, but the greatest winner may not have anything to do with either New Orleans or Memphis. Kyle Lowry, a free agency point guard, may be the greatest beneficiary of the trade.

Why would Kyle Lowry be the winner of a deal that he isn’t a part of?

Kyle Lowry of the Toronto Raptors directs traffic from the point guard spot.

Kyle Lowry of the Toronto Raptors directs traffic from the point guard spot. The Toronto Raptors’ Kyle Lowry in action during a game. | Rich Schultz/Getty Images

From New Orleans’ viewpoint, one of the most important reasons for the deal is to gain salary-cap flexibility. The Pelicans only signed both Adams and Bledsoe as part of two separate agreements last summer, but by dumping both players and their contracts, as well as renouncing the team’s rights to guards Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart, the Pelicans would have $36 million in cap space.

To say the least, the Pelicans have had a difficult time in recent years. The fundamental building pieces are in place for New Orleans to make a jump in 2021-22, assuming it utilizes its available salary space correctly, with a new head coach in Willie Green, 23-year-old Brandon Ingram, and franchise cornerstone Zion Williamson still in his NBA infancy. Lowry may be the finest player available to assist the Pels in making that jump.

New Orleans frees up salary cap room in August, allowing them to either match an offer sheet on Lonzo Ball or chase a major free agency point guard like as Kyle Lowry or others. Valanciunas was preferred by Pels as a center floor spacer over Adams.

July 26, 2021 — Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn)

According to CBS Sports, Lowry was seeking for a two-year, $50 million contract at the trade deadline last season, which New Orleans could accommodate into their free cap space.

What would Lowry bring to New Orleans’ table?

Over the course of his 15-year career, Lowry has averaged 14.9 points, 4.4 rebounds, 6.2 assists, and 1.3 steals per game, according to Basketball-Reference. Lowry may be nearing the end of his NBA career, but he still averaged more than 17 points, 5 rebounds, and 7 assists a game last season with the Toronto Raptors.

Lowry adds championship experience after winning the 2019 NBA Championship with Toronto, which is maybe more essential for a young New Orleans squad with a developing superstar in Williamson. The 15-year veteran also adds a consistent leadership presence, excellent defense, and toughness to the Pelicans, which they presently lack.

In New Orleans, Lowry might have a Chris Paul-like impact.

The Phoenix Suns went from 34-39 in 2019-20 to 51-21 and a place in the NBA Finals last season, demonstrating what a savvy, well-respected senior point guard can accomplish for a young team. Chris Paul came in Phoenix and quickly transformed the team into a contender, assisting young players Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton in their development.

Lowry may have a similar impact on Williamson, Ingram, and the rest of the Pelicans’ team, which has an average age of 24.8 and eight players under the age of 23. Last season, New Orleans has the league’s sixth-youngest roster.

Lowry will be 36 years old for the 2021-22 season, which will also be his 16th in the league. This was Paul’s 16th season in the NBA, and he was 36 at the time. If CP3 can come up in Phoenix, develop the Suns’ young players, and lead the club to its first NBA Finals in franchise history, why can’t Lowry, who already has one, do the same for the Pelicans?

Basketball-Reference provided all stats.

Montrezl Harrell’s free agency decision may have already been made for him by the Lakers.

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