NBA trade season is in full effect. On Monday morning, it was reported that the Miami Heat dealt veteran guard Kyle Lowry to the Charlotte Hornets in exchange for Terry Rozier and a 2027 first-round pick.
The Hornets' agenda is clear. Charlotte is and will be, shipping out veterans to make room for an end-to-end rebuild. At 29 years old, Rozier doesn't fit the Hornets' timeline. His fit on the Heat makes a lot more sense as Miami is a contending squad with Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo on the roster.
Although Charlotte acquired a 37-year-old in exchange for a player who's yet to turn 30, this trade is more about future cap flexibility and draft capital. Rozier is owed roughly $75 million over the next three seasons while Lowry is playing on an expiring deal.
Immediately following the trade, reports shed light on the Hornets' preference to work another trade for Lowry before the trade deadline. Rather than a buyout, it seems as if Charlotte prefers rerouting the former Heat guard for additional assets.
While rerouting Lowry seems like the best plan, it's unlikely to come to fruition. Lowry's contract is worth $30 million, making him a difficult player to move. A three-team trade might be possible, but another two-team trade involving Lowry would likely require the Hornets to ship out an asset alongside the veteran guard.
A buyout seems like the most realistic possibility for the floor general. However, Lowry's contract also complicates his place on the buyout market. As many as seven contending squads are unable to sign waived players who had a pre-existing salary of over $12.4 million.
Not on the list are the Minnesota Timberwolves. Currently, in first place in the Western Conference, the Wolves are experiencing success like never before. With a lack of tradable players, Minnesota will likely use the buyout market to bolster the roster.
Of all the potential players to be bought out, Lowry makes the most sense. The 37-year-old guard is a former NBA Champion, who's averaging 8.2 points and 4.0 assists per game in his 18th season. Additionally, Lowry is a threat from deep. He's knocking down 1.7 threes per game on a 38.5 percent clip.
The Timberwolves have struggled to find an adequate backup behind the ever-consistent Mike Conley. Backing up the Minnesota floor general are Shake Milton and Jordan McLaughlin. Neither guard has a solidified spot in the rotation. McLaughlin has registered six DNPs since the beginning of December, while Milton's registered nine of his own.
In the Timberwolves' most recent contest against the Hornets, head coach Chris Finch opted to start Nickeil Alexander-Walker alongside Anthony Edwards in the backcourt. Two non-traditional lead guards. Although both McLaughlin and Milton played, it's worth noting the lack of confidence Finch has in both reserves.
There have been rumblings of the Timberwolves making a move for a former point guard, but acquiring Lowry via the buyout market makes more sense. Acquiring a bought-out player requires no resources besides handing out a minimum contract.
The addition of Lowry would provide the Timberwolves with additional shooting and a reliable backup point guard to pilot the second unit—two of Minnesota's biggest needs.
Stay tuned as we'll continue to have you updated on every rumor and trade chatter before the trade deadline.