The Kyle Lowry trade talks went all the way down to Thursday's 3 p.m. trade deadline... and he didn't go anywhere.
Lowry was expected to be traded to either the Sixers or the Miami Heat before the deadline, but trade talks with both teams went slower than the Toronto Raptors had hoped because neither the Sixers nor the Heat were willing to give in to Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri's highest demands.
The Raptors' reported asking price had something to do with that.
ESPN insider Brian Windhorst discussed Thursday morning on "First Take" where the negotiations stood with less than five hours until the deadline:
"[The Raptors are] basically negotiating with only teams, with Miami and Philadelphia, and from what I can glean from people I'm talking to, neither one of them are putting the premium, premium package that they could offer for Kyle Lowry, and that's frustrated the Raptors a little bit.
"For Philadelphia, they are permitted to trade '21 and '23 first-round picks - this year's pick and 2023 - plus they have Tyrese Maxey, their young guard out of Kentucky, and Thybulle, Matisse Thybulle. Toronto, they would like all of those pieces. From what I've been told, Philly has not been willing to put that whole package in there."
Thank goodness Morey was not willing to put that package on the table, because that would have been a colossal overpay for a guy who turned 35 years old on Thursday.
NBC Sports Philadelphia's John Clark reported after the deadline passed on Thursday that the Sixers were still in on Lowry until the end at the right price - but not that price:
Lowry absolutely would have made the Sixers a better team this year, but that deal would have been a losing proposition for the next three to five seasons of Sixers basketball. While it feels like this is the clearest the Sixers' championship path has been during the Joel Embiid/Ben Simmons era, there's no reason to push all the chips in when those two are still under 28 years old and entering their respective primes on a pair of long-term contracts.
Thybulle has kickstarted his game since a rough beginning to the season, and since the All-Star Game is playing some of the best basketball of his career on both ends. In a league increasingly focused on the offensive end, the Sixers have successfully zigged as the league zags and created a defense-minded identity. Thybulle is integral to the way they play the game, and his improved three-point shot as this year's gone on makes him extremely valuable to this team.
Maxey, too, has huge upside as a shot-creator and ball-handler, two things the Sixers would ostensibly be getting from Lowry. He's also insanely young and currently cheap, crucial features for a team built around All-Star pieces.
Windhorst also mentioned that some of the Sixers' hesitancy is came from Lowry's desire to have a new contract as part of a trade. Lowry, according to Windhorst, was looking for something around $25 million per year over two years, which was a bit rich for a Sixers team with three max contracts already on the books.
"That's an issue for Philadelphia," Windhorst said Thursday morning, "and could contribute to their hesitancy."
As much as Sixers fans might've wanted Lowry to return to Philly and chase a title with the hometown squad, it sounds like the Raptors simply wanted too much in return, and Morey sat things out.