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NBA Toronto Raptors

NBA Trade Rumors: 5 Potential Landing Spots For Kyle Lowry

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Where Could Kyle Lowry End Up?

5 Potential Landing Spots for Kyle Lowry
Tom Szczerbowski-USATODAY Sports

The Toronto Raptors are trying as hard as they can to tank away this season. They moved Andrea Bargnani before the season started in exchange for Steve Novak, Quentin Richardson and Marcus Camby, then they traded Rudy Gay, Aaron Gray and Quincy Acy two months into the season for Greivis Vasquez, John Salmons, Patrick Peterson and Chuck Hayes. Both of these trades were made to save money, but let's be real, they were both moves that netted the Raptors less talent than what they were sending out. It's obvious that this team wants a high draft pick. The only problem is that the Raptors keep winning.

The Raptors started the season 6-12, which is awful, but it was good enough to keep them in the hunt for the Atlantic Division and a spot in the Eastern Conference Playoffs. Since the playoffs weren't the Raptors' goal -- they gave up Bargnani for a player who is half as good and two old dudes, just to get rid of a big contract and a future first round pick --  they moved Gay and others, and sold it as a chance to get out from under another big contract, but now they are 5-3 since trading Gay. This season is turning out better than any Raptors fan could have ever imagined, and worse than anyone in the Raptors' front office could have ever imagined.

If the Raptors are serious about tanking this season, and they are serious, the next step is moving Kyle Lowry. Lowry is the only desirable player left on the roster that doesn't have a bad contract, and as we creep closer to the tread deadline, teams will stop popping up all over the place for Lowry. There are several teams that would want a player like Lowry; he is quick, a plus-defender and an above-average shooter. He isn't an All-Star or anything, but he is good enough to swing a playoff series if he is acquired by the right team.

I believe the Raptors are going to throw this season away, no matter how blatant they have to be, and I will not be shocked if Lowry is moved in the coming weeks. As a matter of fact, I expect him to be traded, and these are the most likely new homes for Lowry.

Follow Robbie on Twitter @rmarbury

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5. Los Angeles Lakers

5. Los Angeles Lakers
Robert Hanashiro-USATODAY Sports

This is the least likely of all the trade possibilities, but the one that would be received the most by Raptors fans.

The Los Angeles could send Canadian Steve Nash back home. He is the best Canadian player of all-time, so the organization could sell the appeal of Nash to the fans while also getting way worse in the short term. Nash has another year on his contract, but with his health, it would be a shock if he came back.

This deal obviously helps the Lakers, because they have no healthy point guards. That is not a joke; Xavier Henry was their starting point guard once Kobe Bryant went down. They have lost Nash, Steve Blake and Jordan Farmar so far this season. With Lowry, the Lakers could contend for a playoff spot and also have more money in free agency next year, because Lowry's deal is over after this season.

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4. Portland Trailblazers

4. Portland Trailblazers
David Richard-USATODAY Sports

The Portland Trailblzers are the wild-card in my opinion. They are the surprise team of this season, as no one expected them to be the best team in the Western Conference at Christmas. This is not some flash in the pan, the Blazers are for real. Now, how real are they?

I don't know that for sure, but if they could add Lowry to their bench, they would continue to be the best team in the West. Portland could send Mo Williams, Victor Claver and Allen Crabbe, along with a future first-round pick for Lowry. This would give Portland the best bench point guard in the league, and if you don't think that is important, just ask the Golden State how having a proven point guard on their bench last season helped them in the playoffs. Damian Lillard is big enough and is a great shooter -- he could even play off the ball alongside of Lowry.

Toronto gets worse, improves their draft pick, gets a young shooter in Crabbe, and gains another future first-round pick down the road.

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3. Dallas Mavericks

3. Dallas Mavericks
Jerome Miron-USATODAY Sports

The Dallas Mavericks are one of the semi-surprise teams of the year. I say semi-surprise because a team with Dirk Nowitzki is never really that bad, and here they are right in the thick of the playoff hunt.

Dallas has had injuries this season at the point guard spot, with Devin Harris not playing at all and rookie Shane Larkin only playing 15 games so far. Jose Calderon has been great for Dallas up to this point, but he cannot defend most starting point guards in this league. He is great on offense, but Dallas cannot go further than the first round of the playoffs with Calderon on the defensive end during crunch time. Dallas could move Larkin and Wayne Ellington with a future pick in exchange for Lowry. This would give them a good point guard that can defend the position, and allow Toronto to tank and add a young player in Larkin.

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2. Chicago Bulls

2. Chicago Bulls
Mike Dinovo-USATODAY Sports

The Chicago Bulls are without starting point guard Derrick Rose for the rest of the season. Chicago is not like other organizations that have their eye's on draft picks, they want to win games and compete. Part of that mindset is because they have too much talent with Joakim Noah, Luol Deng, Jimmy Butler and Carlos Boozer to lose enough games to get in the lottery, especially in the East.

Lowry would be an upgrade over D.J. Augustin and Marquis Teague. Chicago could offer Kirk Hinrich, Erik Murphy and Teague, with a future second-round pick for Lowry. This would give the Bulls a better-than-average point guard and allow them to ride into the playoffs with a solid 10-deep rotation, which would be good enough to make the Eastern Conference Semifinals, and who knows what could happen from there. Toronto gets another future pick, Hinrich's expiring contract, and two young players on rookie-contracts that could be gotten rid of easily if they don't work out, and more importantly, if they get worse, and improve their draft pick.

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1. New York Knicks

1. New York Knicks
Joe Camporeale-USATODAY Sports

The New York Knicks had delusions of competing for a title this year, and now they would be lucky to make the playoffs. They have already been fleeced by the Raptors once, so they might be hesitant to deal with Toronto again, but at least this time they would be getting a player that has an expiring contract.

New York could send Iman Shumpert and Ray Felton to Toronto for Lowry. In this trade, the Knicks would be getting rid of their best wing defender, Shumpert, but they would be getting a defender that can defend the point guard spot and relieve Tyson Chandler from having to be the greatest rim-protector of all time for the Knicks to have a chance to win. Losing Shumpert would also open up more playing time for Tim Hardaway Jr., who has a better long-term future than Shumpert.

For the Raptors, they get worse because Felton would balloon to three bills if he got shipped to Canada. Toronto would also get a wing-defender who doesn't care to shoot, which is something that haven't had in a while.