ReGrade the trade: Heat go all-in with polarizing deal for final piece

Kyle Lowry was a key part of recent Miami Heat playoff runs, but was the sign-and-trade for him back in 2021 worth it?
Miami Heat v Los Angeles Clippers
Miami Heat v Los Angeles Clippers / Allen Berezovsky/GettyImages
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When Kyle Lowry was inked to a three-year $85 million deal in 2021 via sign-and-trade, Miami Heat fans were eager to bring aboard a multi-time NBA All-Star and former champion.

Lowry was impactful on and off the court for this Heat team with his leadership, IQ and savvy skillset. The problem wasn’t necessarily just in production, but for the price tag of that production. Lowry had an average annual salary of around $28 million during his 2½-year tenure. 

Not to mention that the Heat needed to part with beloved fan favorite Goran Dragic, along with additional pieces like Precious Achiuwa, just to get the sign-and-trade done between Lowry’s former team the Toronto Raptors.

For a rapidly declining player, whose contract put him into his age-38 season, that contract could have easily been predicted to become a liability. His hefty salary limited the Heat in being able to swing for more younger talent to beef up the roster.

Lowry saw himself get demoted to a bench role, twice, in his last two seasons as a member of the Heat. He was a key piece to last year’s Finals run as the main orchestrator for the second unit, including some occasional vintage playoff performances in both 2022 and 2023.