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NBA Free Agency Rumors: Sixers will pursue Kyle Lowry this summer

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Zach Lowe says the Sixers will go after the Philly native in the summertime.

NBA: Playoffs-Toronto Raptors at Cleveland Cavaliers David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

If you talk to the right people, the name Kyle Lowry has popped up quite a few times as a potential Sixers target in the summer of 2017. Until now, there wasn’t much of a reason to waste a lot of time on the rumors—who would leave one of the East’s best teams to join the Sixers, even with their promising young core?

But Toronto’s poor performance against Cleveland in their second round playoff series has changed the view of where the Raptors are in the league hierarchy. And with the sweep comes questions about where their big free agents will head this summer. Cue ESPN’s Zach Lowe:

Play hardball with Lowry, and he might leave -- just like Al Horford bolted Atlanta after the Hawks haggled over that dicey fifth season. Lowry's a prickly, proud dude, and he will have suitors -- including his hometown Sixers. He signed what turned out to be a wildly below-market contract in 2014, and he (justifiably) wants to be paid as a franchise guy. He led the sad-sack Raptors out of the sullen Andrea Bargnani era, to places where they had never been.

There has been a mix of Lowry chatter in Philadelphia for months, from the usual “He’s a Philly guy!” stuff to more substantial rumors. Several people who spoke to Liberty Ballers over the last few months named Lowry as a potential target this summer, but Toronto was in a much different state then, having made several moves to battle with the Cavs in these playoffs.

Lowry would theoretically be a big boost for the current Sixers, and he could serve as both an initiator and a release valve for Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. He shot nearly 42 percent on catch-and-shoot threes this season, which will help him retain value even as he goes through the usual late career downturn.

But paying a 31-year old point guard the maximum salary at this stage of the rebuild seems a little foolhardy. Point guards—particularly those on the smaller side—tend to age poorly, and although Lowry’s career trajectory and skillset could help him ward Father Time off for a while, history is not on his side. He doesn’t really fit with the Sixers’ timeline, and they’d be probably better off allowing the program to continue to grow organically by using stop-gaps to fill in around their elite young talent.

This isn’t the first, and it won’t be the last time you hear Lowry’s name this offseason. He’ll have a number of options on the table, but never count out the hometown team.