Some Toronto Raptors fans were living vicariously through Kyle Lowry during the 2021 NBA playoffs, as seeing the greatest player in franchise history slip a ring on his finger with the Miami Heat could’ve taken some of the sting of an early playoff exit away. Not only did Lowry fail to make the Finals, but it came in an embarrassing fashion.
While Miami took the mighty Boston Celtics to seven games in the Eastern Conference Finals, that had more to do with Jimmy Butler going supernova than a classic Lowry performance. In fact, the 36-year-old Lowry started to show his age in a very concerning way against Boston.
Lowry, who had hamstring troubles earlier in the playoffs, averaged just 7.6 points and 4.4 assists per game on a dreadful 27% shooting and 21% from 3-point range in seven games. He nearly had as many games with zero points (two) as he did with double-digit points (three).
The Raptors were able to get rid of Lowry early in the 2021 offseason, as the sign-and-trade swap they worked out with Miami brought back Precious Achiwua and Goran Dragic (who was later flipped for (Thad Young). That trade looks better by the game, even if it meant saying goodbye to the GROAT.
The Raptors may have won the Kyle Lowry trade.
Achiuwa turned on the jets in the second half of the season, averaging 12.2 per game after the All-Star break while developing a brand-new 3-point shot. Even though Dragic earned a one-way ticket out of town, he was used as ammunition to help the Raptors acquire a standout bench piece in Young.
While Lowry was solid in the regular season, averaging 13.4 points and 7.5 assists per game, it will be hard for Heat fans to forget the Boston series. The fact that Lowry is going to earn $28 million per season in each of the next two years, which will take him into his age-38 season, is not ideal.
Lowry can still be an effective point guard on a championship team, but Toronto appeared to have made the right move by parting ways with him when they did and getting some younger alternatives. Meanwhile, Miami has been stuck with an unsavory contract and a declining asset.
While going to Miami did give Lowry a chance to play a vital role on a championship contender like the Heat, his injuries have helped Father Time cause havoc on his career. With his contract fully guaranteed for the next two years, Pat Riley might have some buyer’s remorse.