The Brooklyn Nets are emerging as a potential landing destination for Toronto Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.
The Raptors and Nets have exchanged ideas on packages for Lowry that include Mirza Teletovic, Tyshawn Taylor and 2011 first-round draft pick Bojan Bogdanovic, league sources said. Bogdanovic is playing in Turkey and could join the NBA as soon as next season.
Toronto could try to wait out the Nets’ inclusion of a 2020 first-round draft pick or rookie center Mason Plumlee, but is doubtful Brooklyn will pay such a steep price. Jason Terry has been raised in talks, too, but only as part of a deal that includes young players or draft assets.
Scout Halil Can Pelister also reported that Toronto Raptors GM Masai Ujiri was in Turkey Thursday, attending one of Bogdanovic’s games.
The New York Knicks and Golden State Warriors are also involved in trade talks.
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Any team that trades for Lowry would inherit his full “Bird” rights, meaning that they could sign him to any contract up to the maximum regardless of that team’s salary. Theoretically, that means if the Nets (or any team) trades for Lowry, they’d be able to sign him to a five-year contract worth upwards of $95 million in the offseason. To be clear, that’s the maximum; a player of Lowry’s caliber will command much less than that.
Though they may just be trying to ramp up the asking price for the Knicks, if Brooklyn’s interest in Lowry is genuine, it’d likely be for just 2013-14. Lowry’s contract, worth approximately $6.2 million, expires at the end of this season, and trading away Teletovic and Taylor would save the Nets around $4.5 million next season. That’s bigger than you might think.
The Nets are hoping to avoid the repeater tax, a new punitive system implemented by the NBA in the collective bargaining agreement to curtail reckless spending by teams over the luxury tax threshhold. Yes, the Nets have already spent a staggering and record-setting $190 million on their roster, but that number would look much worse if the repeater tax was in effect.
The Nets can avoid the repeater tax if they come in under the tax threshhold next season, which would require them to shed salary. If they shed Teletovic and Taylor, and Kevin Garnett retires, they’d have under $75 million committed to ten players. With the tax threshhold at $71.75 million this year and likely to rise, that kind of cut would help the Nets save a ton of cash. That would also make signing Lowry a luxury they may not want to secure.
The Nets also want to free up cash for the summer of 2016, when players like Kevin Durant and Kevin Love will hit free agency.
Lowry is a talented point guard in a league full of them; since 2010 the bullish six-footer averaged 14.6 points and 7.3 assists per 36 minutes, shooting 37 percent from beyond the arc in his last four seasons. He’d be an immediate upgrade, though the Nets would again have to eschew their prospects (in this case, Taylor and the talented Bogdanovic) in favor of the “now.”