NBA

NBA AM: What’s Next For Kyle Lowry?

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What’s Next For Kyle Lowry?:  As the Toronto Raptors cleared out their lockers and did their requisite exit interviews with the team and the media, a common questions was asked of virtually everyone. ‘Is Kyle Lowry Going To Be Back Next Season?’

The short answer on Toronto’s unrestricted free agent is very likely.

The long answer is it depends on who else comes calling.

Lowry both publicly and privately has said he likes the situation in Toronto and that he’d like to be back. Privately, Raptors president Masai Ujiri has told staffers that re-signing Lowry is a top priority and that the team will meet the expected asking price, said to be in the $10 to $12 million per year range.

The problem for Toronto and for Lowry is that the Raptors won’t be the only team calling.

»In Related: 2014-2015 NBA Free Agent List.

Lowry is said to be on the LA Lakers wish list of free agents and there has been more than a few hints that Lowry could be on the HEAT radar if Miami’s Big Three follows through on the expected plan to opt out and create a little cap room for the HEAT in exchange for new long-term deals.

Lowry, who really came into his own this season, looks to have no shortage of free agent suitors and will find his resolve and commitment tested. While the emotions of a postseason run and arguably his best season as a pro are still fresh in the process, the Raptors look like the frontrunners mainly because no one else is really at the table yet.

Lowry’s teammates seemed fairly confident that Lowry was coming back, suggesting that the subject has been covered in detail to the point that they all responded like it was a forgone conclusion.

Lowry for some time has looked for a team to call his own and a situation where he could really connect with his teammates; he found that this year in Toronto. Privately, Lowry has said that means a lot to him as he weighs his future.

»In Related: Top 50 Highest Paid Players In The NBA.

Lowry has struggled to find stability in his career and that’s made him somewhat tough to deal with. He has butted heads with coaches and been stubborn with teammates. Some close to Lowry point to his marriage this past summer as a turning point for him as a person, and that all season he has been more of a leader and been more focused on buying in than looking for a way out . The results on the floor speak for themselves.

The stability that seems possible in Toronto is attractive and given that the Raptors can and likely will have the most money to offer, it seems likely that Lowry is back in Toronto next season, although it’s far from the lock that Raptors fan are hoping for. Not because he wants out, but because there are some high profile teams that could put real offers on the table and make the 28-year old Lowry pause.

»In Related:>Toronto Raptors Team Salary.

Lowry has unfortunately seen the harsh side of the NBA, having been traded twice in his eight seasons. That tends to make players more business focused in their decision making process. Lowry also hasn’t had that huge star-level payday some of his All-Star caliber peers have gotten and at 28, this is his shot, meaning money will matter over almost everything.

The prevailing thought is the Lowry will be back with Toronto next season; however, it’s not a lock. There are other teams that are going to try and tempt him out of Toronto, which is the unfortunate part of unrestricted free agency for the Raptors.

Can Anyone Turn Down The Lakers?:  Here is the problem with the LA Lakers head coaching search – their star isn’t nearly as bright as it once was. Signing on as the next Laker head coach may come with more misery than success, especially in the short term. And for coaches that have to prove something, like the flurry of college names being kicked around, coaching the Lakers could be an extremely tough job.

The Lakers were planning on letting former head coach Mike D’Antoni coach out his final contract year. They had kicked around coaching candidates and decided that they needed to understand their team before making a long-term commitment to a new head coach. Not willing to be the bridge or the band-aid, however you’d like to frame it, D’Antoni resigned, putting the Lakers in the market for a new coach a little earlier than they had hoped.

»In Related:LA Lakers Team Salary.

The Lakers plan to be extremely thorough in their search. They have reached out to the likes of UConn head coach Kevin Ollie, who is expected to interview, mainly out of curiosity and respect. The Lakers are linked to North Carolina’s Roy Williams, although he is not expected to leave UNC.

League sources said the Lakers made their usual run at Duke Head coach Mike Krzyzewski, who is not leaving Duke. During the National Championship game, the Lakers interest in Kentucky coach John Calipari was leaked. Coach Cal immediately shot down the idea, although several people involved have said had Coach Cal wanted the job it would have been his.

Some veteran coaches with NBA experience are said to have logged their interest in interviewing including former Nuggets coach George Karl and former Memphis coach Lionel Hollins.

The Lakers have a tough sell in front of them; their roster is a huge unknown. They have free agency this summer, but may have eyes on free agency next summer and who is coaching the team may impact that. Clearly the Lakers are looking for that “one-size fits all” candidate. A coach that can develop the younger guys the Lakers have to infuse the roster with, but also have enough coaching credibility to keep star guard Kobe Bryant from going postal and chasing away would-be free agents.

The Lakers have a check book that is hard to say no to, but they also have a cloud of uncertainty about their future that makes them slightly less attractive than in years past. Factor in a massively passionate fan base and media market that’s impossible to hide in and you get a combination of issues that some coaches simply don’t want to be a part of.

The Lakers can calm a lot of worries with a hefty long-term contract, but the issues facing the Lakers this summer make this a much harder sell than they had planned for.

The Lakers plan to be thorough in their process, but there may be a reality to face in this equation – the coach the Lakers may want, may not want them at this point in their situation and choosing the wrong guy could have unintended consequences going forward.

The Lakers are one of the highest profile jobs in coaching, with that comes great temptation to be the guy that rights the ships and returns the franchise to glory. It also comes with unbearable scrutiny, second-guessing and pressure that few coaches are ready to handle.

The Lakers can make is financially worth it for any coach they want to back the Brinks truck up for, the question remains can anyone say no to the Lakers?

There was a time when that seemed impossible. However, today the Lakers may not be the dream scenario they once were.

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About Steve Kyler

Steve Kyler

Steve Kyler is the Editor and Publisher of Basketball Insiders and has covered the NBA and basketball for the last 17 seasons.