Dec 20, 2013; Dallas, TX, USA; Toronto Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry (7) dribbles against Dallas Mavericks point guard Jose Calderon (8) during the game at American Airlines Center. Toronto won 109-108. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Toronto Raptors: Kyle Lowry Rumors Not Surprising

With the free agency period now just a couple weeks away, rumors are starting to swirl about where some of the bigger names on the market will ultimately decide to play next season.

This is especially true in the case of Kyle Lowry, who will be one of the more sought after point guards following his breakout season with the Toronto Raptors.

Last month, I outlined five possible suitors likely to compete for Lowry’s services when the clock strikes midnight on July 1.

One of the teams I mentioned was the Miami Heat. At the time, my reasoning was that they might look to make a significant upgrade at the point guard position, with their current floor general, Mario Chalmers, also set to hit the market this summer.

Of course, everything is up in the air for the Heat right now, despite reaching the NBA Finals in four consecutive years and winning it all in 2012 and 2013. Miami, it seems, will be in a virtual standstill until LeBron James states his intentions for the future.

Jun 15, 2014; San Antonio, TX, USA; Miami Heat forward LeBron James (6) reacts to a call during the first quarter against the San Antonio Spurs in game five of the 2014 NBA Finals at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

James and teammates Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh all have options to terminate their contracts this summer for the purpose of becoming unrestricted free agents. The most likely out of these three to take that leap would obviously be James and it would be based on where and with whom he would have the best chance of winning more championships.

If James decides to return to the Heat next season, either under the terms of his current contract or with a new deal in place, it would likely be under the condition that Pat Riley and Co. add a significant piece or a even a superstar to the roster.

Carmelo Anthony is the popular choice, but whether he would be a good fit in Miami is a different story. And in my opinion, the Heat would have to trade either Wade or Bosh to make it work, at least from a team chemistry standpoint.

On the other hand, I fully understand why Lowry’s name is being linked to Miami, but it only makes sense if King James stays put.

Apr 30, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry (7) drives to the net against Brooklyn Nets guard Shaun Livingston (14) in game five of the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at the Air Canada Centre. Toronto defeated Brooklyn 115-113. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

As mentioned, Lowry would be a huge upgrade from Chalmers. As someone that can score, knock down 3-pointers, distribute the ball, and play at a fast tempo, Lowry would provide a much-needed jolt of energy to the Heat lineup. His addition to the roster might also allow coach Erik Spoelstra to cut down on Wade’s regular season minutes as a way to save him for the playoffs.

In my previous piece on this topic, I speculated that the “big three” would likely return intact next season — a scenario that would make Lowry’s decision more about winning than money.

Overall, there is going to be competition for Lowry’s services and the teams that he will be linked to in the rumor mill will all seem like a good fit on some level.

Lowry is 28 years old and in the prime of his career. After stints with the Memphis Grizzlies and Houston Rockets, he finally found a home with the Raptors and made a name for himself in the process.

There is always going to be some tentativeness in the Toronto market regarding the intention of star players after what has happened with Bosh, Vince Carter, Tracy McGrady and dating all the way back to Damon Stoudamire.

Perhaps Lowry will be the one to break the mold and decide to make a go of it in Toronto. But if the possibility is out there for him to team up with James, then I could see how that might be tempting.

Tags: 2014 NBA Free Agency Kyle Lowry Toronto Raptors

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