I wrote my point guard summer shopping list for the Mavs a few weeks ago. Turns out we can add one more name to that list: Kyle Lowry.
Here's a breakdown of the situation:
The Rockets guard told the Houston Chronicle on Friday that he does not think he and Goran Dragic will both return next season. And he is especially unlikely to play for Houston if Kevin McHale returns as coach.
"I don't think so," Lowry told the newspaper about returning to play for McHale. "I honestly think it would be tough. Things have to be addressed. The situation would have to be addressed.
"If things aren't addressed coaching-wise, I guess I have to be moved."
Now, make no mistake, this isn't a sure sign the Rockets are looking to move Lowry. Dragic is an unrestricted free agent this summer, and despite Houston's claims they want to re-sign him, he will probably be able to receive offers from $7 to $10 million a year to play as a starter.
Lowry, however, only made $5,750,000 this year and is due to receive $5,750,000 and $6,210,000 the next two seasons (until summer of 2014). Given his range of skills and consistent production, this is a hell of a bargain, and one that Houston would no doubt be very reluctant to part with.
As for his issues with McHale, I wouldn't read too much into this. Player-coach disputes happen quite often and even though Lowry seems adamant, it's possible a few sit-down chats with Rockets management and McHale could yield a quick resolution.
If for some reason, Houston does decide to trade Lowry, he would automatically jump to my No. 2 spot on the point guard shopping list behind Deron Williams. Lowry doesn't receive that much attention when we discuss point guards, mainly because he plays in the Western Conference (where guys like Parker, Westbrook, Paul, and Nash all steal the All-Star game slots) and the Rockets have struggled to compete the last few years.
Regardless, he is a top-10 point guard in the game (at a time when the depth at this position is truly historical) and you could conceivably rank him as high as eighth -- behind only Paul, Williams, Westbrook, Rondo, Rose, Parker, and Nash. Lowry brings elite quickness and speed, good court vision, and gritty perimeter defense to the table. He's quite limited in size (only 6'0), which hurts him defensively, but he has great athleticism and can play above the rim on offense. He has struggled to shoot well from the field during his career (only 40.9% this year, and some sub-40% seasons in the past), but he has improved his three-point shooting greatly the last two seasons (37.6% and 37.4%) and can hit his free throws at around an 80% clip. He's also a very good rebounder considering his size, pulling down 4.6 a game this season. Lowry's assist numbers aren't staggering (6.6 per game), but they're not bad either, and he's shown great strides ever year. Houston's system wasn't really dependent on him dominating the ball and making all the decisions and, even then, he averaged 7.4 assists per 36 minutes (he only averaged 32 minutes a game this year), not a bad number considering the lack of really great scoring options for the Rockets.
If Dallas strikes out on Deron Williams and Lowry's on the market, I think a phone call to Daryl Morey is a no-brainer. Lowry is just 26 and appears to be entering his prime, and he's quite underpaid on his current contract that extends two more seasons.
I'm honestly not sure how the Mavs could possibly pull off this trade, but it's worth a shot. Houston has no need for cap relief because they only have around $30 million committed in salaries to next year, so the Lamar Odom contract doesn't seem to be all that useful. Shawn Marion wouldn't interest them either because he's 34and offensively limited and they have a good tandem of young SFs in Chandler Parsons (an All-Rookie selection this year) and Chase Budinger who each make less than a million dollars (with Parsons locked up until 2015). We would probably have to involve a team that does need cap relief to pull off a multi-team trade and throw in a lot of sweeteners (Roddy Beaubois, maybe Brandan Wright, draft picks), not to mention the possibility of Houston asking us to take on Luis Scola's monster contract ($8,591,793, $9,408,207, $10,224,622, and $11,041,037 over the next 4 years). Ouch.
In the end, it seems highly unlikely we can get Kyle Lowry, but he's a very good, if not elite, point guard so it's definitely worth a look from Mark Cuban and Donnie Nelson. In my opinion, getting him at this stage in his career would clearly be a better move for Dallas than signing Steve Nash (at 39) or Goran Dragic (who would cost more and hasn't proven as much).