Updated (2:38 pm): Daryl Morey has confirmed via Twitter that the Rockets will indeed match this offer for Kyle Lowry. (Twitter)
For the Cavaliers, free agency didn’t really begin until about 9:01 when Rich Paul called Dan Gilbert and told him the bad news that LeBron James was about to announce his decision to take his talents to South Beach. Despite the fact that all the top free agents had already been signed elsewhere, the Cavaliers didn’t hesitate to jump head first into free agency, and late Tuesday night they made their first signing.
The Cavaliers have signed Houston Rockets restricted free agent point guard Kyle Lowry to an offer sheet. According to the Plain Dealer’s Brian Windhorst, the deal is a 3 year deal with a 4th year team option that would total the contract at $24 million. The Rockets will now have a week to match the Cavaliers’ offer.
Lowry, who will be entering his 5th season out of Villanova, is an exciting prospect for the Cavaliers. Some might be wondering why the Cavaliers would want Lowry when they already have a lot of similar guards in Mo Williams, Delonte West, Daniel Gibson, and Sebastian Telfair, and it’s a fair point. However, Lowry would allow the Cavaliers to trade both Delonte West and Mo Williams if they wanted to. If they keep Mo, then Lowry is a solid backup who is an excellent defender at the point, something the Cavaliers have been lacking.
After 2 and a half seasons with the Memphis Grizzlies in which his role was always changing and never solidified, Lowry was traded to the Rockets, where he found a comfort zone and made a positive impact for the Rockets. Looking at his On/Off stats last year with the Rockets, they scored 110.2 pts per 100 possessions with him on the court vs 107.6 with him off it (+2.6) and they gave up 107.3 with him on the floor vs 110.6 with him off (-3.0). That net difference in points per 100 possessions is +5.9, which puts him well above what Mo, Delonte, Parker, Moon, and Gibson did for the Cavaliers last season. In fact overall, the only Cavaliers with a better Net difference last year were LeBron and Anderson Varejao.
In many ways, Lowry is a polar opposite to Mo Williams. Lowry is not a good shooter, but likes to score by getting to the hole. He has quickness and athleticism and he is a very good, if not great, defender. Lowry likes to push the ball and play up tempo, which would be a perfect fit for Byron Scott’s new offense. In all ways, he would be a great addition to the Cavaliers. He’s young, relatively inexpensive, fits perfectly into what Byron Scott is trying to do in Cleveland, and gives Chris Grant options to make moves with other guards.
Unfortunately, Cavs fans shouldn’t get too excited about Lowry joining the team. The Houston Rockets have insisted all off season that they will match almost any offer for both of their RFAs, Lowry and Luis Scola. It’s possible that the Rockets were just trying to keep other teams from signing Lowry, but it’s also just as likely that Lowry has no intention of joining Cleveland and is just trying to force Houston’s hand. Regardless, it’s hard to imagine the Rockets letting Lowry go at this price.
No matter what happens, I applaud this move. I realize PG isn’t the biggest need on the team (that would be a center….although that position will be better filled via trade than free agency at this point), but signing Lowry sends a clear message on the direction the team is trying to go. If the Rockets don’t match, great. If they do match it, then so be it. Either way, it just feels good to get back to business and to see the Cavaliers being proactive in trying to get a player that would be a great fit in Cleveland.
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