Compelling suitor emerges in trade talks for Hornets' Kyle Lowry

Kyle Lowry playing for the Miami Heat v Toronto Raptors
Kyle Lowry playing for the Miami Heat v Toronto Raptors / Cole Burston/GettyImages

Earlier today I dug into the reports claiming that the Hornets would be one of the most active teams before the NBA’s trade deadline on Thursday. And since the time of that writing, yet another report has emerged, mentioning the Hornets and specifically, Kyle Lowry.

Since Lowry was traded to the Hornets, it has been clear that he will never join the team, and the Hornets would like to flip him again before the deadline, or likely buy him out. This was always going to be difficult given Lowry’s age (37), decline in play, and his expiring $29.7 million contract.

It has certainly felt like this situation was headed towards a buyout after the deadline. But Matt Moore of the Action Network reported on Saturday that the Orlando Magic have inquired about Lowry, as they are desperate to add a point guard. Moore writes: 

“For the Magic, they're in a unique position to send assets they are willing to part with if Lowry is content to stay in Orlando. It might provide the Magic with a way to add a veteran while they try to find long-term answers there, even if that answer is ultimately committing money to Markelle Fultz on a big extension.”

This would be a dream come true for the Hornets, as Lowry was already just a salary dump in the Terry Rozier trade, so any additional value or assets that could be extracted from the Rozier deal would be a huge bonus.

Orlando has been reluctant to make any big splashes, and 37-year-old Kyle Lowry isn’t dramatically changing their ultimate destiny this season. But the fact that they’re sniffing around is encouraging.

The Magic have a couple of expiring contracts they could send back to Charlotte to make the salaries work in Joe Ingles ($11 million) and Gary Harris ($13 million). Neither veteran has been a mainstay in the Magic rotation, nor are they likely part of any future plans. 

What assets can the Hornets realistically get?

It’s naive to think that the Magic will offer a first-round pick or any meaningful young player for half a season of Lowry. But they have all of their own picks and several extras. They could easily toss in a second-round pick or two to sweeten the deal.

They also have too many young prospects to play them all and will have to part with some eventually. They could probably be convinced to part ways with the 24-year-old center, Goga Bitadze who has fallen behind Wendell Carter Jr. and Moritz Wagner on the depth chart. He’d be a reliable backup big for the Hornets - especially if they trade Nick Richards.

The Magic also have 25-year-old stretch big, Chuma Okeke who has shown some promise, and 21-year-old swingman, Caleb Houstan. Either one of those players would be a nice flier for the Hornets. Rookie lottery picks Anthony Black and Jett Howard are almost certainly off-limits, but it can’t hurt to ask, and acquiring either one would be incredible for Charlotte.

Again, all of this is basically just an extra part of the return for trading away Terry Rozier, so anything is better than nothing. If the Hornets can add a 2nd round pick and a young player with some upside to the future first-round pick they already got from the Heat, that would be a gargantuan victory for the franchise.