Trade Deadline Marathon: Day 3.2
In this one, the Raps make yet another “business decision”, deciding to part with organizational bedrock figure Kyle Lowry. The Raptors bromance of years past becomes fully erased.
While still playing at a borderline All-Star level, the Raps might make this move to make the current roster even more switchable on defense, and to distribute offensive playmaking responsibilities across the roster. Initiation of the offense might instead fall to Gary Harris, VanVleet, Kawhi Leonard, Delon Wright, and Pascal Siakam.
Seeing as the Nuggets are taking on more total contract years, the Raptors might have to sweeten the package with a second round pick, or maybe even a first. The expiration of Millsap’s contract is a boon to the Raptors, as this frees up their books faster than retaining Lowry would, and maximizes mobility in a summer loaded with free agents.
For Denver, this deal allows them to pair the sharpshooting Jamal Murray with a playmaking veteran guard in Lowry, and both players can shoot the lights out from deep. The move increases Denver’s star power (getting a younger, contractually-locked-down star in Lowry for Millsap) and allows them to stockpile a very nice young piece in Norman Powell (whose tantalizing ceiling suggests that a change of scenery and more minutes could help him realize his NBA potential). CJ Miles adds another veteran sharpshooting wing to the roster, and essentially replaces Trey Lyles, whose inexperience could limit him during a playoff run.
The Nuggets could roll out a starting lineup of Lowry-Murray-Beasley-Hernangomez-Jokic. The Raptors could roll out a lineup of Harris-Green-Kawhi-Millsap-Siakam. Both teams would have great shooting depth. It’s quite a bit of change for two high-level teams mid-season, but if it better prepares them for the playoff challenges ahead, then what’s not to like?