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Kyle Lowry would improve Miami Heat 2022 NBA title odds only slightly via SportsLine Projection Model

Kyle Lowry could be on the move to the Miami Heat later today.
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NBA free agency officially opens today at 6 p.m. Eastern time, which also means that's when sign-and-trades can happen. The biggest-name free-agent player expected to change teams – Kawhi Leonard and Chris Paul are both free agents but expected to re-sign with the Clippers and Suns, respectively – is Toronto Raptors six-time All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry. It has been reported that the Miami Heat are the front-runners to land Lowry, but the SportsLine Projection Model only slightly improves Miami in that scenario.

The Heat picked up the option on point guard Goran Dragic's $19.4 million contract for the 2021-2022 season, specifically for the purpose in a sign-and-trade. Lowry "has long been intrigued with joining Heat star Jimmy Butler and the Miami organization," according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. The Heat looked into trading for Lowry at this past season's Trade Deadline but settled for Victor Oladipo and that was a bust because he was hurt. He won't be back. The Heat finished 40-32 last season and were swept in the first round of the playoffs by eventual champion Milwaukee.

Lowry wants around $30 million a year and few teams can offer that to him for salary-cap reasons. Miami can't, but Toronto could and then flip him for Dragic and young big man Precious Achiuwa. That way, at least the Raptors get something, although they probably would turn around and flip Dragic elsewhere.

The New York Knicks, New Orleans Pelicans and Dallas Mavericks (a potential Dragic landing spot as he has been a mentor to fellow Slovenian Luka Doncic and the two share the same agent) do have the cap space to sign Lowry, but he apparently prefers Miami. The Raptors want to do right by Lowry, a franchise icon who probably has his number retired someday. Toronto is in the midst of a semi-rebuild and isn't a title contender right now.

Last season, the 35-year-old Lowry averaged 17.2 points, 7.3 assists and 5.4 rebounds in just 46 games due to injury/the Raptors tanking. His best days are probably behind him, which helps explain why the SportsLine Projection Model only improves the Heat from 43.3 wins to 43.6 next year with him. Their playoff chances improve 2.3 percent but Eastern Conference chances just 0.48 percent and NBA title chances 0.24 percent.

Caesars Sportsbook currently lists Miami +3000 to win the NBA title and +1400 to win the East. Those equal percentages of 3.2 percent and 6.7 percent, respectively.

MIAMI HEAT                  WINS        WIN%        PLAYOFF         CONF         CHAMP
Current Forecast 43.3 60.10% 66.10% 1.12% 0.14%
w/ Kyle Lowry 43.6 60.60% 68.40% 1.60% 0.38%
Difference 0.3 0.40% 2.30% 0.48% 0.24%

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