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Kyle Lowry free agency latest: Heat clear cap space; Mavericks, Pelicans in mix

Raptors guard Kyle Lowry

TAMPA, FLORIDA - JANUARY 29: Kyle Lowry #7 of the Toronto Raptors waves to his family during a game against the Sacramento Kings at Amalie Arena on January 29, 2021 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.

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Kyle Lowry remains the hottest name in NBA free agency — he is the domino that has to fall before a number of other players (Lonzo Ball, Spencer Dinwiddie, others) find their new homes. He is the guy that — if healthy — can move a team up the contender status ladder.

The Miami Heat have made Lowry their top priority and \cleared out some cap space to go after him. Here are the reports, from Miami-based Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press, and Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

Lowry and Jimmy Butler are close, which is part of the draw to Miami, along with the fact a Butler/Lowry/Bam Adebayo Heat have to be considered a serious threat in the East. In another move, the Heat picked up their $19.4 million option on Goran Dragic (although they are open to trading him, possibly in a sign-and-trade for Lowry).

The other team mentioned around the league as a team seriously in the mix for Lowry is the Dallas Mavericks. He would share playmaking duties with Luka Doncic on a team that believes it can hang with the contenders at the top of the West. Over at The Athletic, former Grizzlies front office member John Hollinger said Lowry to Dallas is what he heard (as part of a story focused on the future of Lonzo Ball... which is most likely in Chicago).

I’ve heard a lot of different stuff, but if I had to bet on one outcome, I think [Ball’s free agency] ends with an offer sheet from the Bulls that the Pelicans decide to match after Kyle Lowry signs with the Mavericks.

The other team trying to push its way into the mix are the New Orleans Pelicans, who have been considered a longshot to land Lowry around the league. Their sales pitch will reportedly be a bigger contract with more money in the third year — the Pelicans just made a big trade to clear cap space — and a Chris Paul with the Suns kind of role with Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram.

One way or another, Lowry will get paid a lot of money for a 35-year-old point guard who has had some injury issues. He’s still an All-Star level point guard who averaged 17.2 points and 7.3 assists a game last year, is a stout on-ball defender, and can help a lot of teams take the next step.