After another first-round playoff outing at the hands of the Los Angeles Clippers, changes are due for the Dallas Mavericks. Superstar goalie Luka Doncic can’t do it all alone, and after a disappointing playoffs, Mavericks trade rumors are rife.
One such business rumor involves a “Raptors reunion” in Dallas with former Toronto teammates DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry joining Doncic to create a new Mavericks squad. The questions are: is this possible and how would the pair fit into the 2021-22 Mavericks?
DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry were Toronto Raptors teammates for six seasons
The Toronto Raptors selected DeRozan out of USC with the No.9 pick in the 2009 NBA Draft. Lowry was the No.24 overall draft in the 2006 Memphis Grizzlies Draft. In the offseason leading up to the 2012-13 season, the Raptors traded for Lowry. The then Houston Rockets goalie traveled to Toronto for forward Gary Forbes and a protected first-round pick, by ESPN.
North of the border, DeRozan and Lowry were a formidable duo. They have led the organization to five straight playoff appearances, starting in their second season together. In the 2015-16 season, they reached the Eastern Conference finals, losing to the Cleveland Cavaliers in six games.
In the 2018 offseason, the Raptors traded DeRozan to the San Antonio Spurs for disgruntled star Kawhi Leonard. DeRozan thrived statistically, averaging more points (21.6), assists (6.2) and rebounds (5.3) than he did in Toronto. However, the Raptors got the better of the deal as Kawhi Leonard, now associated with Lowry, won the 2019 NBA Championship.
DeRozan and Lowry are both 2021 NBA free agents and the Mavericks could have them both
As the Dallas Mavericks look to put a different supporting cast around Doncic after losing to the Clippers again, there are several other options. In a recent episode of SI The Mavs Step Back podcast, In the episode “Upgrading The Mavericks”, the hosts suggested a “Raptors reunion” in Dallas. This is possible because DeRozan and Lowry are unrestricted free agents during the offseason.
Is it financially feasible for the Mavs to sign both players? With a little maneuvering, the answer is yes.
The Mavs are currently at $ 90.9 million in pledged salary, which, according to spotrac, gives the team $ 9.6 million of practical ceiling space ahead of the season. If the team turns down Willie Cauley-Stein’s $ 4.1 million squad option and Josh Richardson turns down his $ 11.6 million player option, that would create a cap of $ 25.3 million. to win the DeMar DeRozan free agency battle with a deal close to last season’s $ 27.7 million figure.
To get Lowry out of Toronto and come back with DeRozan, it might be a little more complicated but still very doable. The former Villanova point guard earned $ 30 last year, so the Mavs would need to strike a signing-and-trade deal with the Raptors to get it.
After the Mavs (hypothetically) sign DeRozan, they can quit Tim Hardaway Jr. for $ 28 million in 2021 if they choose, as they can exceed the cap as the owner of Hardaway Jr.’s Bird Rights. That would give them two different players earning close enough to $ 30 million to match Lowry’s wages in a sign and trade – Hardaway Jr. and the hapless Kristaps Porzingis.
Lowry should probably tell Toronto that he wants to go to Dallas to take one of those offers, but if the option is Hardaway Jr./Porzingis or nothing, the Raptors would likely take the deal.
How would DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry fit in with Luka Doncic?
There are several things Dallas needs to accomplish with a trade to improve Doncic’s supporting cast. They need to find a reliable second goalscorer, remove the ball from Doncic’s hands – where he currently sits on almost every possessions – and find a star (or two) who can be at Doncic’s level but not compete with him for them. spotlight like Porzingis tries to do.
At the whistle, DeRozan and Lowry are a perfect match for the Mavericks. DeRozan is a 20-point-per-game scorer who can be a dangerous second option when Doncic is down and carries offense when he is on the bench. This is the Rich Man’s Hardaway Jr.
Lowry can share ball-handling duties with Doncic to give the 6-foot-7 Slovenian’s body rest. He can also be a tenacious defender to fill Doncic’s gaps there, and he can spot when he’s not on the ball. In the 2020-21 season, Lowry achieved a near-career high of 39.6% on a 3-point range, eclipsed only by his seasons of 41.2% and 39.9% in 2016-17 and 2017-18, respectively.
DeRozan and Lowry are both established stars in the NBA. They are of sufficient stature for Doncic to respect them, but are well known and old enough not to compete for the 22-year-old’s brilliance.
The best part of the fit with the ex-Raptors and Doncic would be if the Mavericks could get rid of Porzingis in the process. The two European stars are reportedly not getting along well, and pulling out the lesser of the two stars could be a big win for the team’s chemistry.
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