The Miami Heat reportedly are focused on using veteran guard Kyle Lowry in a trade for Damian Lillard or another deal to improve the roster.
According to the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson, the team is now longer considering waiving and stretching Lowry’s contract. Lowry is entering the final season of a three-year deal worth just over $85 million. He is owed just under $30 million in the 2023-24 season.
“After considering multiple options with Kyle Lowry, the Heat has decided against one of them: waiving and stretching his contract,” Jackson wrote.
“The Heat instead is now focused on using his salary in a trade for Damian Lillard or another potential deal, according to a league source.
“Miami also is comfortable beginning next season with Lowry on the roster if he isn’t traded this summer. More trade opportunities could open before next February’s trade deadline.”
Lowry came to Miami prior to the 2021-22 regular season in a sign-and-trade deal with the Toronto Raptors, but he has not produced at the level that the team would have liked over the first two seasons of his contract.
In those two campaigns with the Heat, the six-time All-Star 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.
Lowry shot just 34.5 percent from 3 in the 2022-23 season, his lowest percentage from beyond the arc since the 2014-15 season.
In the 2022-23 campaign, Lowry dealt with a knee injury that kept him out of the lineup for several games. That led to the Heat starting Gabe Vincent, and Lowry finished the regular season and playoffs in a bench role for Miami.
It’s hard to justify the Heat paying as much money as they owe Lowry for him to have a bench role, but waiving and stretching his contract would have kept him on the books for the next three seasons.
Instead, the Heat seem focused on moving his expiring salary to get some better pieces on the roster for the 2023-24 campaign.
Lowry’s future with the franchise should have a little more clarity as the offseason goes on and free agency begins, especially if the Heat are able to re-sign Vincent, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent.