We're now just about three weeks from the Feb. 20 trade deadline, which means fans get to enjoy increased chatter about trade rumors, hypothetical or otherwise, but also deal with the annoying fact that many of those trade ideas will serve the interests of one party in terms of actual on-court improvement but not the other. But not all deals have to simply be a case of one team improving the present and the other storing away assets for the future.
That's what makes the situation in Toronto right now so interesting.
Last week, I took a look at a possible trade for Omer Asik that maintained some balance between present and future returns. This week, our player of emphasis is Kyle Lowry, a dark-horse All-Star candidate in the Eastern Conference who has led Toronto to a revival since the Dec. 9 trade that sent Rudy Gay to Sacramento for spare parts. Lowry has been very good, but his impending free agency creates a concern about maximizing return on his good play before he could leave in free agency, balanced against the fact that Toronto is squarely in the playoff picture in the East.
Is getting something for Lowry worth diminishing a playoff run? Maybe it doesn't have to be. Here's a possible trade: Lowry is traded back to the team that traded him to Toronto, the Houston Rockets. Let's break down the player, and the deal.
The player: Kyle Lowry