Knicks could have signed former champion to back up Jalen Brunson in 2023-24

Apr 30, 2024; New York, New York, USA; Philadelphia 76ers guard Kyle Lowry (7) brings the ball up court against New York Knicks guard Jalen Brunson (11) during the first quarter of game 5 of the first round of the 2024 NBA playoffs at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks missed out on a golden opportunity to bring a championship point guard to town this past regular season.

Fred Katz of The Athletic reported that the Knicks were players in the Kyle Lowry sweepstakes during the 2023-24 regular season, and could have acquired him before he signed with the Philadelphia 76ers on (h/t Bleacher Report’s Julia Stumbaugh):

“Lowry was on the Knicks’ list after a buyout with the Charlotte Hornets last winter, according to league sources, though he eventually signed with the 76ers,” Katz wrote before sharing a quote from Knicks forward Josh Hart, who tried to lure Lowry to New York.

“Yeah, I texted his ass,” Hart said, per Lowry. “I told him, ‘Pull up.’ Told him, ‘F–k with us.’ But, obviously, that didn’t happen, so f–k him.”

Kyle Lowry would’ve been a prototypical fit for the Knicks in 2023-24

Apr 22, 2024; New York, New York, USA;  Philadelphia 76ers guard Kyle Lowry (7) is guarded by New York Knicks forward OG Anunoby (8) and center Isaiah Hartenstein (55) during the second half during game two of the first round for the 2024 NBA playoffs at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Lowry is a cookie-cutter Knicks player down to the nine. He plays with grit and intensity, which fits the Knicks’ tenacious style of defense. A maestro at drawing charges and picking up timely whistles in highly pressurized moments, the Philadelphia native’s play could have serviced New York greatly behind All-Star point guard Jalen Brunson on the soon-to-be expired NBA campaign.

Lowry’s efficacy does not just come on the defensive end, though. The six-time All-Star would have also given New York a boost in the three-point shooting department. He drilled 1.6 threes on 39.2 percent shooting from deep for the entirety of the 2023-24 season. Of those 1.6 nightly trifectas, 1.0 came from 25-29 feet out, proving that, even at Lowry’s advanced age of 38 years old, the Villanova product’s longstanding reputation as a long-range sniper has not preceded him. He would have worked wonders in further opening the floor for the Knicks in the half-court and in the pick-and-roll.

Knicks’ efforts to land Lowry failed but could lead to a comparable signing this summer

NBA: Philadelphia 76ers at New York Knicks
Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

That’s likely one of the driving forces behind why Lowry’s fellow Villanova alum Hart wanted to compete for a championship alongside him.

Lowry’s move to his hometown 76ers was also a fitting match. Philadelphia expressed their desire to keep the former 2019 champion as his $1.13 million expiring contract will slate him for free agency this summer. The Knicks are in need of another point guard.

If they’re willing to offer Lowry more than what he made in 2023-24, he may be a player to look at. Nevertheless, the Knicks will be in the market for a guard that checks the boxes that Lowry does, be it exceptional on-ball defense, great outside shooting, and unselfish playmaking.

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