Kyle Lowry has expressed his love for the Raptors management, coaches and teammates. He had the best season of his career in Toronto. The light has finally come on hot and strong for this point guard, just in time to earn himself a ton of very viable options throughout the NBA.
The Raptors will go all-in to get Lowry to re-sign. He will not be going elsewhere for the money, but that is no guarantee he’ll be back, so what is President and General Manager, Basketball Operations Masai Ujiri’s “Plan B”?
It has become obvious, Plan B was always to draft Canadian point guard Tyler Ennis, but that option is off the table. However, Ujiri wouldn’t go into any situation without alternatives and there are some pretty good ones staring straight at him. If push comes to shove, Greivis Vasquez and the recently acquired Lou Williams will give the Raptors a solid one-two punch at point guard – not at the level of Lowry and Vasquez, but effective. However, as Ujiri has mentioned several times, the Raptors want a big small forward and they’ll need a good one if they lose Lowry’s talent.
Plan B – Option 1
The Raptors don’t want to sign and trade Lowry to Houston, but if Lowry wants to go there and is leaving anyway, the Rockets have pieces Ujiri should want.
PG Patrick Beverley is still under his rookie deal and has taken the kind of strides over his initial two seasons that everyone has noticed. He is exactly the type of player that gets Ujiri’s attention – young, exciting and developing quickly.
SF Chandler Parsons is going to get paid and if the Rockets spend their money on Lowry, this is the target Ujiri is going to want back in return. The Raptors want to add a big small forward and they love shooters. Stealing Parsons would take the sting out of losing Lowry big time.
Plan B – Option 2
The Raptors will not have a lot of salary cap room to play with in free agency even if Lowry signs elsewhere after taking into account all their cap holds and exceptions. Barring some Ujiri magic, their best free agent option will probably be to use their mid-level exception to go after talent.
In the risk – return category for a GM that isn’t afraid to take chances, Evan Turner is sitting out there and he is a talent. Bad coaching and a terrible situation in Philadelphia have trashed this former number two overall draft pick’s reputation, but everyone has seen flashes of what this kid can do and when properly motivated and paying attention, he has been brilliant in stretches.
On the cheap end of free agency, Turner could become the small forward he was supposed to be under good coaching.
Plan B – Option 3
From way out in left field, Ujiri should be approaching the Pacers. Indiana needs a starting point guard and George Hill could easily slide over to the off guard slot. The slightly wacko Lance Stephenson is a small forward who distributes the ball and is a triple-double waiting to happen. The dollars and the opportunity should work for both players.
There wouldn’t be a bigger story in the NBA this summer if Ujiri pulled off this sign and trade
Tough unrestricted free agent market for Lance Stephenson, I should say. Trouble finding leverage on the Pacers.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 2, 2014
Plan B – Option 4
It’s a long summer and deals will happen. Maybe Ujiri could swing a sign and trade deal for free agent Luol Deng with draft picks and expiring contracts, but as enticing as Deng would be to fill the talent gap of losing Lowry, those kinds of deals are tough to consummate.
There will be trade opportunities over the next couple of weeks as other teams try to create space for the deals they’ve made or want to make and Ujiri has shown himself to be very adept at taking advantage of these situations. However, unpredictable scenarios like this will not comfort a distraught fan base.
Basically standing pat and developing the young talent Ujiri has already acquired could be where the Raptors end up if viable deals are simply not out there. No deal is better than a bad deal and Lowry mulling over his options in free agency isn’t where anyone connected with the Raptors wanted to be right now.