The NBA season is finally nearing the playoffs, with the Sixers looking to make a long-awaited title push, but that doesn't mean we aren't interested in what comes after this season. The offseason is basically its own league at this point, and the rumor mill is a-turning.
Raptors veteran Kyle Lowry is a free agent this summer, and it sounds like the New York Knicks are interested in adding the Philly native, according to SNY's Ian Begley:
"They’re keeping an eye on Damian Lillard and any other star who may seek a trade if things go sideways with their current franchises. They also have guards like Dennis Schroder, Lonzo Ball and – per SNY sources – Kyle Lowry – on the radar for the offseason."
Why is this of interest to the Sixers, beyond adding Lowry to a seemingly rising Knicks team in their division?
If you'll remember, The Athletic's Sam Amick and John Hollinger reported just 12 days ago that the Sixers' front office is still very much interested in adding Lowry despite not bringing him over during this season's trade deadline:
"Sources say the Sixers still plan on pursuing him by way of a possible sign-and-trade. While they added George Hill at the deadline in lieu of Lowry, only $1.2 million of his $10 million salary for next season is guaranteed, and the deal expires at that point. The Lowry interest remains very strong there."
So now we've got at least one more Eastern conference team in the legitimate running for Lowry's services. Very interesting.
If you'd told me at the start of the season that the Sixers would be competing for a relatively high-profile player's services with the Knicks the following summer, I would've said great, because the Knicks stink. But they don't stink anymore! They're not world-beaters, but they've become a totally respectable team in the East, and one with sizable cap room this summer.
Adding Lowry to the Knicks would make them a very interesting team, and the Sixers would certainly like to avoid the East becoming more competitive at the top - while also adding Lowry to their championship-seeking squad.
The question will likely become, for the Sixers, whether they're willing to part with some sort of valuable asset, whether that's a young player in Tyrese Maxey or Matisse Thybulle, or a future draft pick, in order to secure Lowry in a sign-and-trade. That's where the Raptors' price stood at the deadline, and it sounds like Lowry will still have plenty of active suitors come this offseason.
Maybe the Sixers are better off trying to develop their current core and building at the margins. That's where I'd lean, considering the way both Maxey and Thybulle have played this season.
But perhaps Daryl Morey believes Lowry, a perfect fit in the Sixers' current setup, makes them the best team in the NBA. We'll see in a few months - ideally, with a title in tow.