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Kyle Lowry

What’s the plan for the Lakers in free agency?

The Lakers have already fired their opening shot in getting together their next great championship squad: drafting Jordan Clarkson.

But they also picked up a fellow named Julius Randle–the number 7 overall pick–who hopefully will be a building block in LA for the next decade or so.
Beyond that? This year’s free agency could tell us a lot about where the Lakers are headed…or if we’re just going to be asking the same questions for another twelve months. What are the Lakers aiming to do in the coming months?
Plan A: LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony or Chris Bosh. Or many of them.
As with most offseasons, even with no cap room or assets, the Lakers are going to be involved in the free agent rumor mill. But in an offseason where the team has room for a maximum salary contract? They’ll be involved in every whisper, no matter how farfetched.
Which is exactly what this situation is.
The Lakers have virtually no shot at the former four-time MVP, nor the former scoring champion nor the former Miami Heat Harlem Shake video MVP. The Lakers are essentially bereft of proven talent, the largest factor that any of these free agents will take into consideration before committing to another team. In short, the Show kind of stinks right now and I’m not sure any of these All-Stars want to descend into this pit.
(Read on at Silver Screen & Roll!)…

Trade Analysis: New deals for Gortat, Sefolosha, Bradley, Livingston and Lowry

Thabo Sefolosha to the Atlanta Hawks: Three years, $12 million
Avery Bradley to the Boston Celtics: Four years, $32 million
Shaun Livington to the Golden State Warriors: Three years, $16 million
You want a guard with defined—but perhaps declining—defensive skill, but a somehow magically disappearing shot? Sure, why not grab him for $4 million a year. You want an even better defensive stopper who’s just 23 with an emerging scoring repertoire…but has had three major surgeries in the past year? Sure, throw him $8 mil per and see what happens. Or maybe you want a point guard who’s just a year and a half removed from being waived in the middle of the season by a future lottery team, but has somehow recovered into being a valuable fringe starter? Sure, give him something close to the full mid-level exception contract and call it a day.
Three guards have signed new contracts in the past day, and despite some real red flags on their resumes have cashed in big time. Some have said this is just a function of the looming NBA television deal, which will push up the salary cap significantly and render these seemingly bloated deals into reasonable ones in just two years. In other words, $4-8 million dollars is going to look closer to $2-6 million soon, so why not start now?… Read more...

2014 MAMBINO NBA All-Stars

The 2013-2014 NBA All-Stars have been fully unveiled as of last night, with the reserves being named alongside the fan-voted starters. Just for those of you too lazy to punch in “NBA All-Stars” into Google, here they are:
Eastern Conference
Starters: PG Kyrie Irving, Cleveland; SG Dwyane Wade, Miami; F LeBron James, Miami; F Carmelo Anthony, NYK; F Paul George, Indiana
Reserves: F Chris Bosh, Miami; G/F DeMar DeRozan, Toronto; C Roy Hibbert, Indiana; SG Joe Johnson, Brooklyn; PF Paul Millsap, Atlanta; C Joakim Noah, Chicago; PG John Wall, Washington
Western Conference
Starters: PG Stephen Curry, Golden State; SG Kobe Bryant, Lakers; SF Kevin Durant, OKC; PF Blake Griffin , Clippers; PF Kevin Love, Minnesota
Reserves: PF LaMarcus Aldridge. Portland; SG James Harden, Houston; C Dwight Howard, Houston; PG Damian Lillard, Portland; PF Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas; PG Tony Parker, San Antonio; PG Chris Paul, Clippers
A great list to be sure…but not necessarily the right one.
The illustrious MAMBINO crew came together over the past week and threw down their All-Star picks because we’re smarter, savvier and just better than you, dammit. The following are the consensus group picks, as well as some pithy little commentary on how we reached our conclusions, including the snubbiest snubs (those that didn’t even get “snub” votes on MAMBINO). Read on!… Read more...

Who are they building around? Toronto Raptors Season Preview

Starting Five: PG Kyle Lowry, SG DeMar DeRozan, SF Rudy Gay, PF Amir Johnson, C Jonas Valanciunas
Key Bench Players: G/F Landry Fields, SF Terrence Ross, PF Tyler Hansbrough, F Steve Novak, PG DJ Augustin, C Aaron Gray
Offseason Additions: F Steve Novak
Offseason Subtractions: PF Andrea Bargnani, F Linas Kleiza
FACT OR FICTION: Jonas Valanciunas is more important to this Raptors team’s future than Rudy Gay.
FACT. And it’s not even close.
In Toronto, the name on this Raps team (…if there’s a name at all), it’s Rudy Gay. He’s a career 18 ppg scorer, to go along with 6 boards and a steal every night. Gay can break opponents off the dribble and at any particular moment could shove it down his defender’s throat in a dunk that screams “two million views”. Most importantly, he’s still just 26 years old, despite starting his eighth professional season.
However, with the advent of advanced stats and daily video breakdowns, it’s become apparent (to some) that Rudy Gay is more flash than substance. If you thought he was a franchise building block, I wouldn’t blame you: he looks like the perfect prototypical basketball star. 6’9” with a massive wingspan, jaw dropping athleticism and a stunning mix of speed and explosive quickness. Gay isn’t afraid of being the first option on offense, as evidenced by his career 15.3 FGA per game. On paper, or even quarter to quarter, Rudy looks like a star.… Read more...

An Offseason of Hits & Misses — Toronto Raptors Preview

Starting Five: PG Kyle Lowry, SG DeMar DeRozan, SF Landry Fields, PF Andrea Bargnani, C Jonas Valanciunas

Key Bench Players: PG Jose Calderon, SF Linas Kleiza, PF Ed Davis, C Amir Johnson, SG Terrence Ross

Notable offseason additions: PG Kyle Lowry, C Jonas Valanciunas (5th overall pick in 2011 draft), SF Landry Fields, SG Terrence Ross (8th overall pick in 2012 draft), PG John Lucas III

Offseason subtractions: G Jerryd Bayless, F James Johnson

Oh, what could have been. Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo came out swinging this offseason, setting his sights on Canada’s prodigial and 2-time MVP Steve Nash.  According to the always fantastic Marc Stein, Colangelo called Nash’s agent at 12:01 AM when free agency opened to sell Nash on returning to Canada.  Later, a 7-man Raptors contingent flew to New York, where Nash maintains an off-season residence, and pitched him on why he should suit up for the Raptors come November 2012.  Nash then met with officials from the New York Knicks, and later the Los Angeles Lakers.

Then, puzzlingly, the Raptors signed former Knick Landry Fields to a “poison pill” offer sheet, paying Fields $8.5 million in his final year.  The assumption that many, myself included, have made from that offer was that Colangelo, nervous that the Knicks would include SG Landry Fields in a sign-and-trade with Phoenix, Nash’s old team, made Fields a Godfather offer to come to Toronto, blocking the Knicks from pulling off the sign-and-trade for Nash. Well, that sort of worked; the Knicks did not get Nash…but neither did the Raptors, as the chance to play in La La Land with Kobe outweighed running the pick-and-roll with Jonas Valanciunas in Toronto.  Colangelo was left with an overpaid Landry Fields.

Well, Colangelo was able to turn the offseason around by acquiring PG Kyle Lowry, and he may turn out to be a better fit for this team than Steve Nash ever was.  Funny how that works, isn’t it?  It’s obvious that the speedy facilitator and deadly scorer in Lowry will help the Toronto offense, but it’s his presence instead of the sieve that is Jose Calderon that will really help the tema. The Raptors turned into a defensive-minded team under first-year head coach Dwane Casey, who was the d-coordinator for the world champion Dallas Mavericks back in 2010.  In just one year, the Toronto moved up from 30th in the league in defensive efficiency (the number of points a team allows per 100 possessions) to 12th in 2012. Lowry is tough all-around player who should thrive in a defensive system pressuring the other point guard.  He had a break-out year last year (pre-All Star break per game averages of 16 points, 8 assists, 6 rebounds, 2 steals) until a strange sequence of injuries derailed him in March.

The Raptors also will welcome Lithuanian big man Jonas Valanciunas, the 5th big in the 2011 draft who played in Europe last year.  Many had opined that Valanciunas, if he came out this year, would have been picked second overall.  The Raptors may have a steal with a a big who moves well, should thrive in the pick and roll, and help them in a big way on the glass.

Look, this Raptors team is young and talented.  Their starting 5 is good and will be better if Bargnani and DeRozan improve off of last year’s campaigns.  Ed Davis, Terrence Ross and the aforementioned Valanciunas are all very intriguing prospects that should have the freedom to grow and improve with a new point guard who will get them easier shots, especially in transition. Calderon, Linas Kleiza and Landry FiRead more...

Instant Trade Analysis: Kyle Lowry to the Toronto Raptors

(Another ITA from El Miz, this time on now-Raptors PG Kyle Lowry. An excerpt from this post appears on “Toronto Raptors Morning Coffee July 6,” located at

Toronto Raptors get: PG Kyle Lowry

Houston Rockets get: A future-first round pick and some guy named Gary Forbes

What is your plan, Daryl Morey?  Morey claims to be engaged in a seemingly infinite practice of “asset accumulation.”  The idea, as the story goes, is to continue to accumulate “assets,” which in basketball parlance means young, cheap players and the rights to future draft picks so that when the next Disgruntled Superstar – be it Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, or currently, Dwight Howard – demands a trade, the Rockets can exchange a heaping scoop of assets for the Disgruntled Superstar. 

To the casual observer, it feels like Houston has made lateral move after lateral move since the retirement of Yao and the decline of former basketball demigod Tracy McGrady, constantly exchanging good players for other good players, assembling a roster of good but not great talent, and finishing on the outside looking in come playoff time.

Last offseason, in the now-infamous “Basketball Reasons” trade which was nullified by Commissioner David Stern, Morey attempted to trade SG Kevin Martin, PF Luis Scola, PG Goran Dragic as well as a first round pick to get C Pau Gasol.  The rumor at the time was that Morey would then turn around and sign PF Marc Gasol, Pau’s younger brother, as well. Basketball Reasons prevailed, and Stern wound up vetoing the trade which would have also sent PG Chris Paul to the Los Angeles Lakers.

In the weeks preceding the draft, there were the usual Twitter grumblings that Morey would once again accumulate assets, this time to get  child-man Dwight Howard. Kyle Lowry’s name was mentioned as possible trade bait, because after all, Lowry was so good through the first three months of last season that there was a “Kyle Lowry: All Star?” sentiment bouncing around the NBA Twittersphere. Not only was he just entering his prime and signed to an incredibly team-friendly contract through 2013-14, but he was putting up poor man’s Jason Kidd numbers – and I’m talking Nets Jason Kidd merged with the latest iteration who happens to shoot 3’s.  Through three months Lowry averaged 16 points, 7 assists, almost 5 rebounds, and 2 steals in over 35 minutes per game, plus a 40% 3-point stroke.  Lowry was filling it up, going for 18 assists on December 31st, 33/9/8 on January 14th, and his first triple-double on January 23rdin a head-to-head battle with Ricky Rubio (16/10/10).  Lowry played defense like a pitbull, and fought in the paint for rebounds like a forward.  He could push the fast-break, set people up, and hit the 3 when the ball came back to him.  He would presumably be a very nice asset.

At the night’s conclusion, however, Morey and the Rockets were left with a very nice haul out of the first round: SG Jeremy Lamb, F Royce White, and F Terrence Jones.  But still no Howard, still no superstar to build around, and still, Kyle Lowry was a rocket.
The Lowry made sense, to a degree, after Lowry’s backup, Slovenian Goran Dragic, had emerged as more than capable after Lowry went down late in the season with a slew of injuries (a bacterial infection and a sports hernia, among others).  Lowry remained a Rocket after the draft, and soon after free agency started on July 1 it was announced that Dragic had agreed to a deal with the Phoeni