Lowry joins in a sign-and-trade deal as Goran Dragic and Precious Achiuwa head to Toronto in exchange; Butler and Robinson resign on mammoth contract extensions; P.J. Tucker, Dewayne Dedmon and Max Strus also added on first day of free agency
Tuesday 3 August 2021 08:36, UK
Six-time NBA All-Star Kyle Lowry has agreed to join the Miami Heat in a sign-and-trade agreement with the Toronto Raptors.
Lowry, 35, spent nine seasons in Toronto and won the NBA championship in 2019. He is widely regarded by the team's supporters as the "Greatest Raptor of All-Time" and leaves on good terms with the franchise.
Despite ongoing speculation that he would join either the Heat or the Los Angeles Lakers during the regular season to boost their title chances, no trade materialised at the midseason deadline in February.
Now, as per the player's wish, Lowry has got a move to a contending team in the twilight of his career.
An Olympic gold medallist with the USA in 2016, where he grew close with current Heat star Jimmy Butler, Lowry posted to Twitter on Tuesday afternoon: "MIAMI HEAT X KYLE LOWRY... LET'S GOO!!"
Miami are expected to sign Lowry to a three-year deal, ESPN reported, in addition to signing five-time All-Star Butler to a four-year max extension worth $172m. That would mean that in the final year of the deal, Butler, who led the team to the NBA Finals during the 19-20 season, would earn over $50m as a 36-year-old.
Miami also agreed to a five-year, $90m contract with sharpshooter Duncan Robinson, the largest contract ever signed by an undrafted player.
It was a busy opening night of free agency for team president Pat Riley, who also added veteran forward P.J. Tucker on a two-year, $15m, according to The Athletic.
Tucker, 36, played for both the Houston Rockets and Milwaukee last season, helping the Bucks to an NBA title when he averaged four points and 3.8 rebounds in the six-game Finals against the Phoenix Suns.
Free agent center Dewayne Dedmon and guard Max Strus were also re-signed by Miami after both had a productive end to the 20-21 season coming off the bench for the team. Strus signed a two-year, $3.5m deal while Dedmon's contract is for a single year.
Nigerian point guard Gabe Vincent has also penned a new contract in Miami on the same terms as Strus.
ESPN reported the Raptors would likely receive Slovenian guard Goran Dragic, 35, and forward Precious Achiuwa, 21, as part of the trade when deals can become official on August 6.
The Heat picked up Dragic's option earlier this week to facilitate the trade but he is now considered a potential buyout candidate in Toronto.
As for the Raptors, they agreed to a three-year, $54m contract with restricted free agent Gary Trent Jr., according to ESPN.
Toronto extended a qualifying offer to Trent Jr. last week, signalling the team's intentions of keeping him. He will likely be tabbed to start with the departure of Lowry and averaged a career-best 15.3 points per game last season, his third in the league, while shooting 38.5 per cent from three.
This improved to 16.2 points in 17 games (15 starts) with Toronto after being traded from Portland in March along with Rodney Hood for Norman Powell.
Powell, meanwhile, was also signed to a bumper new deal with his team, as the Trail Blazers inked the wing to a five-year, $90m deal.