Kyle Lowry potentially signing with the Sixers is one of the only major pieces of intrigue related to the team right now. The veteran point guard is in a dicey situation with the Toronto Raptors, stuck in that dreaded middle ground, and his future remains in doubt.
Some plugged in people strongly believe the team will be in the mix. Speaking with The Fanatic’s Midday Show, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst believes it’s not out of the question for the Sixers to be in the mix for Lowry:
I think it’s in play. I think the Sixers are interested, I would think it would take a max-level contract. I don’t know how Bryan Colangelo feels about paying a 31-year-old a max-level contract, and they’ve also declared that Ben Simmons is going to be their guy. That could be a marriage where you bring Ben along with Kyle, and then by the time Kyle is ready to transition to a more backup role, maybe Ben could be ready, or maybe they want to go with Ben right away.
The thing about Kyle Lowry is, we don’t know how important, what’s the No. 1 priority? He signed his contract at an inopportune time. He got a really nice contract, he got $12 million a year, that was really good money at the time. But a lot of things happened, and top-level point guards, All-Star level point guards are now earning more than $20 million a year. So while he’s never going to cry poor—he’s done very well—he has never gotten the mega contract that many of his peers got.
There’s a lot to unpack here, but the first bit is an example of why a lot of fans would be concerned about signing Lowry in the first place. Ben Simmons is not the sort of player or prospect who should be taking a backseat to a guard who is going to be fading as Simmons and the team ascend. The early developmental reps are pivotal for Simmons, and while you certainly want capable initiators aside from him, handing the reins to an aging guard is not an ideal scenario.
Windhorst would go on to discuss his own thoughts on what sort of impact Lowry could have on the Sixers, and compared the situation to when forward David West joined the Indiana Pacers prior to their ascent to the top of the Eastern Conference:
The important thing to realize from the Sixers’ perspective is what he would bring beyond his statistics. I remember six or so years ago when David West left the New Orleans Hornets and signed a two-year contract with the Pacers. It was one of the greatest moves they ever made, because even though his numbers were not the same as when he was an All-Star in New Orleans, his ability to be a leader and to set an example for a young team was immeasurable, almost from day one they felt like he made a major difference. He ended up being a huge part of a 60-win team.
That’s what the benefit of a guy like Kyle Lowry would be. I feel like bringing him into the Sixers would bring a level of professionalism, and I feel like Colangelo has wanted that type of player...there is a compatibility there.
The benefit of some more “veteran presence” wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world, but there are a number of cheaper, perhaps smarter avenues to achieve that goal in the offseason. Guys like J.J. Redick, who would fill a need for the Sixers without needing to be a feature guy, are probably smarter player types to hunt for.
Contrary to popular belief outside of this city, culture has not been a big issue for the 76ers over the last few seasons, and role players like Gerald Henderson have helped reinforce professionalism without needing too big of a role on the court. Bryan Colangelo should certainly be searching for upgrades in the offseason, but handing a max contract to Lowry would probably be overkill for the needs they have at the moment.