Kyle Lowry was a few minutes into a postgame Zoom session where most questions were centered around Thursday’s NBA trade deadline, then asked for his microphone to be paused for a moment.
Drake — yes, Drake — was FaceTiming his phone.
“I’m here to translate,” the hip-hop star and Toronto superfan said. “I’m his translator.”
At 3 p.m. Eastern time on Thursday, translation on which way the trade winds are blowing in the NBA will no longer be needed. By then, answers will be known.
Lowry is perhaps the top potential prize on the trade market going into deadline day, which means Wednesday’s win over Denver might have been his last in a Toronto Raptors uniform. Houston’s Victor Oladipo could be another big-name trade candidate, along with Orlando’s Aaron Gordon and New Orleans guards Lonzo Ball and JJ Redick. And that doesn’t even include San Antonio’s LaMarcus Aldridge and Cleveland’s Andre Drummond, players who seem destined for buyouts if their big contracts don’t get moved in trades.
Thursday happens to be Lowry’s 35th birthday, though he’s telling people he’s turning 30 again. Other than getting presents from his kids, he doesn’t know what will happen — or even what he wants to see happen on the trade front.
“I wish I could give you a decision,” Lowry said Wednesday night. “At the end of the day, if something happens, it happens. And if it doesn’t, it doesn’t, right? Everything happens for a reason. I personally, right now, I don’t know.”
Deals must be agreed to and reported to the league by 3 p.m. Eastern on Thursday. It may be several more hours after that deadline before things are finalized; the NBA holds what are known as “trade calls” with the teams involved to ensure that all the financial matters fit within league rules, and there’s often a backlog of those on trade-deadline day.
Some talks have gone on for a few days, and some players have been on the trading block for a few weeks or more. And in what has become an annual tradition in the social-media age, the rumor mill has been cranked up high for some time.
“Guys have to go through this every single year and it just gets noisier and noisier every year,” Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said. “It is much different than it was 20 years ago, just the amount of rumors. But that’s part of being a professional in this business, learning how to compartmentalize.”
The play-in tournament this season means that 10 teams in each conference will have at least one more game to play once the regular season ends, and that will likely shorten the list of teams looking to give up on assets and start thinking about next season. Only three teams — Detroit, Minnesota and Houston — are more than five games out of those play-in spots.
So, while many teams might be looking to be buyers, it’s possible not many will decide to be sellers.
“I’m going to wait and see,” trade candidate Norman Powell of the Raptors said, “just like everybody else.”