With a quick sweep of the Raptors on Sunday, the Cavaliers may have unintentionally filled in a couple of blanks on Kyle Lowry’s next contract, and in turn, determined the Pelicans future roster, too.
Although many are speculating he will explore Western Conference teams in search of a point guard, I feel Lowry’s comments about LeBron James might have been taken out of context. Regardless, the idea that New Orleans could be one of the teams in the thick of the race for Lowry’s services is hard to imagine. The Pelicans will in all likelihood be unable to create the necessary cap space to lure the three-time All-Star to the Big Easy — similar to any of the other big free agent names.
No, Lowry’s final destination and/or contract amount could influence the outcome of Jrue Holiday’s free agency. Were Lowry to leave Toronto, whether by choice or general manager Masai Ujiri decides to go in a different direction with their franchise, that would eliminate a potential landing spot around the NBA for Holiday. One less potential suitor and the odds of Holiday re-upping with New Orleans increases, especially if Lowry returns home to Philadelphia or decides to end the Nuggets floor general issues.
On the other hand, if Lowry stays in Toronto and signs a max 5-year deal, Dell Demps will undoubtedly feel the pressure to offer Holiday much more than any of us are comfortable seeing him spend because Ujiri just overpaid to keep the Raptors never-going-to-beat-LeBron core together. Both general managers have been known to err on the side of keeping their own players so why should we expect this time to turn out any differently?
One can argue that the Pelicans future remains a blank canvas, though, as Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins look ahead to spending their first training camp together. The Golden State Warriors are the crème de la crème in the West, but New Orleans building around two All-Star big men could change the way the game is played. Or, at the very least, bring a lot of the necessary wins against all the small-ball lineups currently littering the landscape.
So, Chris Paul and George Hill wind up re-signing with the Clippers and the Jazz respectively, Lowry opts for the big pay day and Demps decides to meet a lot of the demands issued by Holiday’s representation. Is it that ridiculous to think the Pelicans might wind of the winners of this free agent battle — not because of where each name ends up but rather New Orleans would boast one of, if not the, best core to directly challenge Cleveland and Golden State moving forward?