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How adding Kyle Lowry could improve Knicks’ fortunes



How adding Kyle Lowry could improve Knicks’ fortunes

The New York Knicks have some work left to do this offseason. New York only has 12 players officially signed to their NBA roster, which includes 2024 rookies and other additions. Every NBA team must carry a minimum of 14 players for most of the NBA season, dictated by the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement.

So, New York can still sign a few players, and they should focus on ones who are impactful in one way or another. And while some additions can be identified through Summer League, there are impactful free agents remaining, too. Enter Kyle Lowry.

Kyle Lowry can still have impact on winning

Lowry is a tenacious veteran who plays significantly bigger than his height would suggest. The Knicks just witnessed his impact firsthand in the 2024 playoffs. Lowry started all six first-round games between New York and the Philadelphia 76ers. And while his stat line (7.0 points, 4.0 assists, 3.5 rebounds, and 1.0 steals) might not have jumped off the page, he (surprisingly) played the fifth-most minutes of anyone on the 76ers in the series. That’s noteworthy for a 38-year-old.

Lowry’s output has inarguably dropped, but he remains a major contributor. The former Villanova Wildcat is still a nuisance and an unusually pesky defender. Further, his leadership and basketball IQ are invaluable. And while Lowry isn’t the player he once was, his accuracy continues to improve. Lowry shot a scorching 40.4% on three-pointers last season and a career-best 57.8% effective field goal percentage.

There’s also his limited turnovers to consider. Despite taking care of the basketball in each of his 18 professional seasons, Lowry inexplicably cut his turnovers last season, too. He committed just 1.4 turnovers per game last season, which translates to 1.8 turnovers per 36 minutes, which is also a career-best.

Lowry actually fills a need for the Knicks

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The premise of adding Lowry is predicated on the Knicks’ open roster spots. But it’s not as simple as signing just anyone. Lowry adds a championship pedigree to a team badly in need of it.

Sure, OG Anunoby and Donte DiVincenzo technically won championships, respectively. But neither played a major role on their championship teams. Not like Lowry did, anyway.

Kyle Lowry was the starting point guard for the 2019 NBA Champion Toronto Raptors. And he was tied with Kawhi Leonard in terms of leading the team in minutes per game. He is also a six-time All-Star and one-time All-NBA player.

But adding Lowry is about more than just championship know-how. Lowry is a battle-tested point guard capable of starting today. He is more than qualified to back up Jalen Brunson and even fill in as a starter when needed.

Adding Lowry allows Miles McBride to play to his strengths as an unlikely (considering his size) combo guard. And while rookie Tyler Kolek could grow into a contributor, he is unlikely to provide reliable minutes next season, especially in the playoffs.

Rokutis Jokubaitis is a wild card. He is set to join the Knicks’ Summer League team in Las Vegas this week, per a report from Marc Del Rio of Diario SPORT. But will he make the regular season roster? And even if he does, Lowry’s experience makes him an entirely different player than the 23-year-old Lithuanian.

Lowry should be an affordable addition

It is important to mention that signing Lowry is predicated on his willingness to accept an affordable deal. The veteran point guard would be a great addition if he’s willing to accept the $5.2 million level exception (MLE), or less. But that remains to be seen.

Lowry signed with the 76ers in February 2024 for the non-taxpayer MLE after being waved by the Miami Heat prior to the trade deadline. He may prefer to chase one last payday; however, the Philadelphia native has made more than $274 million throughout his NBA career. So, maybe he’d be willing to forego a few bucks.

The Knicks should explore adding Lowry. As much as he’d bring to the team, he could just as easily hurt him if he’s picked up by another contender. But his grittiness and intelligence are more than enough to justify a roster spot, even if it costs New York most of its remaining financial flexibility.

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