“They’re going for it. There’s not ifs and buts about it, man.”
That’s a quote from Kobe Bryant in early July as he discussed the Lakers’ moves this offseason. He certainly wasn’t lying.
Just one of the many moves the Lakers contemplated and pursued this summer involved Kyle Lowry. At one point during free agency, it was reported that the team hoped to sit down with the point guard, though Lowry ultimately decided to re-sign with the Toronto Raptors on a four-year deal worth $48 million.
According to Jared Zwerling from Bleacher Report, the purple and gold “were hot in pursuit” for Lowry, as were the Miami Heat.
Zwerling says Lowry decided to pass on the Lakers because “there wasn’t a coach in place, the structure of the team was unclear and winning right away didn’t seem likely.”
In reality, the real reason Lowry decided to stay put in Toronto was likely because they made him the biggest offer. It seems unlikely that the Lakers would’ve been willing to commit $48 million to the 28-year-old this summer.
Also, Zwerling also revealed that Lowry wanted to stay in the “weaker Eastern Conference” as doing so should give him a better chance of advancing in the playoffs, so there was definitely more to this than meets the eye.
In the end, the Lakers ended up landing Jeremy Lin on an expiring deal, while also acquiring two draft picks in the process, a move that will allow the team to assess Lin’s performance for one season while also maintaining salary cap flexibility for future seasons, something that has become a priority for Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss in recent years.