Kyle Lowry to opt out of contract; set to become free agent

Kyle Lowry has informed the Toronto media he will opt of his final year of his contract and will become a free agent this off-season.

Lowry discussed his intentions with the local reporters and ESPN NBA reporter Marc Stein confirmed the report.

Rumors began circulating that Lowry will sign with a Western Conference team once free agency began.

Lowry made note that winning a championship is his top priority and money will not be deciding factor. The Toronto Raptors can offer Lowry more money and additional years than any other team.

Here’s a quick breakdown of four possible suitors for Lowry:

San Antonio Spurs: 

The Spurs are more than likely the dream scenario for Lowry this off season and will provide his best opportunity at a ring. However, the Spurs do not have the cap space to sign Lowry. The Spurs will have to part ways with Pau Gasol, let Patty Mills walk as a free agent and find a way to clear an additional $5-10 million in order to compete a max deal.

Lowry would provide a significant upgrade over present day Tony Parker in the Spurs back-court. It’s unknown how well Parker will be able to recover from his injury or if he will decide to return to the Spurs. This injury may lead to Tony Parker hanging it up.

Chance of happening: 50%: No one pegged the Spurs as serious contenders for Lamarcus Aldridge when he became a free agent, yet the Spurs found a way to make the finances work. Don’t be surprised if Lowry heads to San Antonio.

Denver Nuggets:

The Nuggets are in dire need of a point guard and will have the cap space to sign Lowry. Last season, they relied on Jameer Nelson starting 40 games for a team that missed the playoffs by one game. The front office seems ready to move on from former 7th overall pick Emmanuel Mudiay and Jamal Muray projects more as a combo guard than a primary ball handler.

They may not be a championship contender but they do feature franchise cornerstone in Nikola Jokic  and Kyle Lowry would have give them a second all star to a team filled with quality depth.

Adding Lowry would put the Nuggets in a similar situation as the Utah Jazz.

Chance of happening: 20%: The Nuggets just may not be good enough for Lowry to actually consider signing there. Would Denver’s ceiling be higher than Toronto’s? Probably not. The Nuggets have been in play for big name star for awhile as rumors have circulated in past off seasons about interest in acquiring Blake Griffin.

Dallas Mavericks:

Mark Cuban is going to want to make a splash this off-season what could be Dirk’s final year. Cuban has always been vocal about interest in signing all stars. Rick Carlisle is the perfect head coach for the type of player Lowry is and is a coach that can even further elevate his game.

Dallas, who has missed the playoffs twice since Dirk came to town, have quietly built a nice core of players in preparation for life after Dirk. Harrison Barnes, Nerlens Noel, Seth Curry and Yogi Ferrell are all foundation pieces for the Mavericks going forward. Add Wesley Matthews to it for next year and a top 10 selection in this years draft and the Mavericks are a team on the rise again. Adding Lowry would put them in position to contend again next year.

A Lowry-Matthews-Barnes-Dirk-Noel starting 5 with Ferrell-Curry-top 10 selection coming off  the bench will be one of the NBA’s better rosters. The Mavericks could expect to be a 5 or 6 seed in the playoffs next season if that were the case.

Chances of happening: 40% I am higher on the Mavs than most and I think this would be a good landing spot for Lowry. Barnes and Noel are established young players but both are still under 25 and have plenty of time to develop into better players. Dirk is still around to run the pick and pop and Matthews provides a solid three point shooting stroke and above average defense. Keep an eye on Cuban and the Mavericks.

New Orleans Pelicans: 

Jrue Holiday is an impending free agent and the Pelicans are going to need a point guard to get Davis and Cousins the basketball. Lowry joining forces makes sense but will financially strap the Pelicans. The Pelicans would have a terrific big 3 but role players and depth would be an issue.

Adding Lowry would push them into contention for the playoffs but still would not be considered championship contenders. If Lowry is only seeking a ring, this is a high upisde- high risk move.

Chances of happening: 10% Would not read too much into Lowry joining the Pelicans but its certainly an option. The Pelicans want a third star to pair with Cousins and  Davis and Lowry will provide that. He will be more expensive than Holiday but Lowry has a better track record and more likely to stay healthy over the course of year than Holiday.

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