The Miami Heat reportedly have considered using a waive-and-stretch provision on veteran guard Kyle Lowry this offseason.
Miami could consider using this to free up some cap space this offseason if it can’t find a deal for Lowry in the trade market.
“According to two sources, the Heat has been giving thought to potentially using the waive-and-stretch provision on Lowry if Miami is unable to trade him, though a firm decision on that has not been made,” the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson wrote. “That waive-and-stretch mechanism would allocate his remaining cap hit equally over three seasons.”
Lowry is in the final season of a three-year contract worth just over $85 million. He is owed just under $30 million in the 2023-24 season.
Miami acquired Lowry in a sign-and-trade with the Toronto Raptors prior to the 2021-22 season. A six-time All-Star and one-time NBA champion, Lowry was expected to bring a veteran presence to the team’s point guard position while still producing at a high level.
However, his production in Miami has fallen off a bit from his time with the Raptors.
In two seasons with the Heat, Lowry is averaging 12.4 points, 4.3 rebounds and 6.4 assists per game while shooting 42.4 percent from the field and 36.3 percent from beyond the arc. In the 2022-23 season, he shot just 34.5 percent from 3 – his lowest percentage since the 2014-15 season.
With guard Gabe Vincent and sharpshooter Max Strus set to hit free agency this offseason, Miami may be looking to free up some money to keep those players on the roster.
Vincent overtook Lowry as the team’s starting point guard down the stretch of the 2022-23 season. Lowry was dealing with a knee injury, but even when he returned to the lineup, he came off the bench behind Vincent.
The Heat could use Lowry in a trade, since it would help them match salary for a star such as point guard Damian Lillard. The seven-time All-Star reportedly has “serious interest” in joining the Heat if he requests a trade from Portland.
If a trade doesn’t materialize for Lowry, it’s hard for the team to justify paying him nearly $30 million next season for the production he has given Miami. The only benefit to doing so is that the team would not have any of his salary on the books for the long term.
If the Heat use the provision, it will cost them nearly $10 million for each of the next three seasons.
It will be interesting to see how Miami’s offseason unfolds and how that impacts Lowry’s future with the team and the NBA in general.