Could the Sixers pursue Kyle Lowry if he’s bought out?

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Philadelphia 76ers guard De’Anthony Melton (8) and Miami Heat guard Kyle Lowry, right, go for a loose ball during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Monday, Dec. 25, 2023, in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

After being traded to the Charlotte Hornets, Kyle Lowry has become one of the top names on the potential buyout market. Could the Sixers show interest in the Philadelphia native?

In the Eastern Conference of the NBA, there is a power vacuum of teams trying to build out their roster for the playoffs. With no clear favorite to win the East, despite the deep pools of talent on teams like the Boston Celtics and the Milwaukee Bucks, and the unstoppable dominance that is the Philadelphia 76ers Joel Embiid, the East seems to be up for grabs.

Orlando Magic guard Cole Anthony (50) drives around Miami Heat guard Kyle Lowry, left, during the second half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Jan. 21, 2024, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

The Miami Heat, last season’s runner-up in the Championship and the reigning Eastern Conference Champions made a move to acquire veteran guard Terry Rozier from the Charlotte Hornets in exchange for Philadelphia native Kyle Lowry and a 2027 protected Heat first-round pick. While this is a solid move for the Miami Heat, this deal could potentially help the Sixers in the long run.

Could Lowry join the Sixers?

Kyle Lowry has long been rumored to be a target for the Sixers. The six-foot guard was born and raised in Philadelphia, and it feels as if the 37-year-old guard is destined to join the Sixers at least once in his career. Lowry is now a part of the Charlotte Hornets, and it doesn’t appear like the Hornets are looking to buy the guard out quickly, which could complicate things if Philadelphia wishes to acquire his services.

Toronto Raptors guard RJ Barrett (9) protects the ball from Miami Heat guard Kyle Lowry (7) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2024, in Toronto. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP)

Lowry is currently on quite an expensive contract, commanding 29 million dollars this season, but he will be a free agent this summer, meaning that the Sixers would have to move some of their more expensive assets to secure him in a trade. However, coupling Lowry’s contract with his age and regressed play, Lowry looks like a prime buyout candidate.

What would Lowry’s role be for the Sixers?

Kyle Lowry is not the player he used to be. He is currently averaging 8.2 points and 4.0 assists, the lowest marks of his career since his 2008-2009 season with the Houston Rockets and Memphis Grizzlies. Yet, the former All-Star guard is still contributing in a major way. So far this season, he has been playing 28.0 minutes per game and has started in 35 out of the 37 games he has played in.

Philadelphia 76ers guard Patrick Beverley (22) shoots as Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo (13) and guard Kyle Lowry (7) and defends during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Monday, Dec. 25, 2023, in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

The Sixers’ backup point guard spot has been piloted by the ever-effective Patrick Beverly, who has endeared himself to Philadelphia fans all season long thanks to his high-energy style of play and his pestering defense.

In fact, comparing the two head-to-head this season, their statistics per 36 minutes are nearly identical, with 10.5 points per game, around 5.0 assists per game, and just under 2.0 turnovers per game. If Lowry were to join the 76ers, it would be to split the backup guard role with Beverly, which could keep both of them healthy and rested come playoff time.