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Heat are front-runners for Kyle Lowry 20 hours before free agency

Heat, Jimmy Butler, Kyle Lowry

NBA free agency doesn’t officially begin until 6 p.m. Eastern time on Monday, Aug. 2, but unofficially, the maneuvering has already begun. The NBA’s ultimate insider — in a delicate yet unmistakable way — has telegraphed the belief that the Miami Heat are the front-runners to land Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry, 20 hours before free agency begins.

The Heat are trying to make a splash in free agency, and they need to. They didn’t win a single playoff game this past season. While the NBA schedule (a shortened offseason which didn’t allow the team to decompress after the 2020 NBA Finals in the Orlando bubble against the Los Angeles Lakers) played a part in the tidal wave of injuries the team faced, it’s also true that some pieces of the puzzle didn’t fit in Miami.

Losing Jae Crowder — who helped the Phoenix Suns reach the 2021 NBA Finals — was important. Though the Heat had a hard time fielding the same starting five due to all their injuries, there were still aspects of the team’s roster composition which were different from 2020.

The Heat also have to come to grips with the reality that they didn’t have to play 2020 postseason games in Milwaukee, unlike 2021. The Orlando bubble protected them in ways which will forever remain unique and will never be replicated. Much as the 2020 Lakers got a huge boost from a multi-month pause in the season — which enabled injury-prone Anthony Davis to be physically fresh for the playoffs — Miami benefited from not having to make long road trips to Milwaukee and Boston. The team easily could have thought it had a successful long-term formula. 2021 showed otherwise. This brings us back to this week’s free-agency drama.

Kyle Lowry would give the Heat the significant upgrade they badly need. Now we’ll wait and see if Pat Riley can land another big fish on South Beach.

The Heat is on Riley to get this deal done.

Stay with ClutchPoints for more on NBA free agency.