The Pelicans are apparently eyeing free-agent-to-be Kyle Lowry.
There is “rising buzz” New Orleans will target the 35-year-old Raptors point guard when he hits the open market in August, according to NBA reporter Marc Stein — who noted several suitors plan to chase the six-time All-Star in free agency.
The Pelicans’ reported desire to join the race for Lowry comes after a separate report claimed New Orleans is “unlikely to match a significant offer” for point guard Lonzo Ball, who’s also on the brink of free agency.
The Clippers are reportedly interested in Ball, who’s coming off a strong offensive season with the Pelicans, despite a lackluster 31-41 record. New Orleans failed to make the Western Conference play-in tournament, which the league agreed to keep throughout the 2021-22 season.
The Bulls and Knicks could reportedly make a play for Ball when free agency begins on Aug. 2 at 6 p.m.
Meanwhile, Lowry averaged 17.2 points and 7.3 assists per game in 46 starts for the Raptors last season, shooting 39.6 percent from 3-point range. Toronto finished 12th in the East after a 27-45 run, and has the No. 4 pick in the NBA draft on July 29.
Lowry, the longest-tenured Raptor, could add a veteran presence to New Orleans’ young core, under a new head coach following Stan Van Gundy’s firing — as well as playmaking abilities and shooting.
The Pelicans will reportedly name 12-year NBA veteran Willie Green as the team’s new coach — after he finishes as an assistant coach with Phoenix in the NBA Finals. New Orleans is looking to fast-track a rebuild around franchise face Zion Williamson, whose family is reportedly disgruntled with the team for not capitalizing on his star power.
New Orleans also has the No. 10 pick in the draft, along with a number of future picks from the trades that sent Anthony Davis to the Lakers and Jrue Holiday to the Bucks.
Toronto, depending on its salary cap space, could retain its championship point guard or sign-and-trade Lowry with teams such as Philadelphia in the mix, or he could outright sign with another team.
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