Sixers set to sign Philly native Kyle Lowry following buyout

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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)

Following their win over the Washington Wizards Saturday night, the Philadelphia 76ers saw another victory of sorts. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski broke the news that Charlotte Hornets guard and Philadelphia native Kyle Lowry.

After adding sharpshooter Buddy Hield and reserve playmaker Cam Payne at the trade deadline, there was a certainty in the air that the Sixers were not yet down-adding guards, and that proved to be just the case with the addition of Lowry.

Atlanta Hawks’ Trae Young, center, struggles with Philadelphia 76ers’ Buddy Hield, right, and Cameron Payne during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Feb. 9, 2024, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

As for what Lowry can provide the Sixers on the court, some have rightfully questioned what to expect at this point in his career. While this may not be the same version of Kyle Lowry that helped lead the Toronto Raptors to their first NBA championship, he continues to be a serviceable defender, a capable shooter, and a reliable ball handler.

More important than anything may be his leadership and experience. Lowry has played in a total of 130 playoff games, starting in 95 of them. That is more than twice as many appearances as any other member of this Sixers team.

Lowry understands what it takes to see consistent success in this league, and for all the experience the Sixers lost trading away fellow Philly native Marcus Morris and Philly-favorite Patrick Beverley, they gained back with Lowry.

Orlando Magic guard Cole Anthony, center, drives to the basket as Philadelphia 76ers forward Marcus Morris Sr. (5) and guard Patrick Beverley, right, defend during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Jan. 19, 2024, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

The Sixers were not the only team looking to add Lowry, arguably the top name on the buyout market, as the Chicago Bulls and the New Orleans Pelicans were among the teams hoping to sign Lowry, according to Wojnarowski. However, Philadelphia had a leg up on the competition for several reasons in their pursuit of Lowry.

First, the obvious connection between Lowry and his hometown of Philadelphia. In addition to that familiarity, Lowry has experience with both Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey and head coach Nick Nurse.

LOS ANGELES, CA – NOVEMBER 04:Toronto Raptors Guard Kyle Lowry (7) holding his form during warm-ups for the Toronto Raptors vs Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday November 4, 2018 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jevone Moore/Icon Sportswire)

While he was the general manager of the Houston Rockets, Morey traded for Lowry, perceiving the player he could become; even going as far as calling it his best move with the Rockets. That player who saw immense growth in Houston took his game to yet another level in Toronto, eventually winning the franchise’s first NBA championship under now Sixers head coach Nick Nurse.

Then, there’s Philadelphia’s ability to both sign Lowry and contend. Many of the teams looking to contend this season were prohibited from signing him due to the latest CBA, which limits teams above the apron from signing waived/buyout players who made more than $12.4 million.

That list includes the Boston Celtics, Denver Nuggets, Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Clippers, Miami Heat — who also could not sign Lowry as they traded him to the Hornets this season, Milwaukee Bucks, and the Phoenix Suns.

Additionally, the Sixers used a portion of their mid-level exception — $2.8 million, according to Wojnarowski — to sign Lowry, something that not every other contending hopeful could utilize. For instance, The New York Knicks used up most of their MLE when they signed Donte DiVincenzo this offseason. The Minnesota Timberwolves and Cleveland Cavaliers have also used the majority of their MLEs, but they could have matched the offer from Philadelphia, though they would not have met the other criteria.

In the end, it was always Philadelphia, as Lowry was seemingly destined to come home. He also wasted no time, making an announcement of his decision via his agency, Priority Sports. It certainly looks as though the 18-year veteran is looking forward to his homecoming.