Lowry called DeRozan early Tuesday morning to tell him about the trade before the news broke. For DeRozan, it came as a blow — not as a player or competitor but as a longtime friend.
“It sucked,” DeRozan said. “To me, it flips to being there for him more so as a friend. For me, basketball kind of goes out the window. Even last night, I just texted him before I went to sleep, asked him how he was feeling mentally. That’s all I care about first. Everything else will work its way out.”
At this point in their careers, both players understand the reality of the business. Lowry supported DeRozan after he was traded by the Raptors without conversation or consolation in 2018. By that time, the pair had been teammates for six seasons in Toronto and were close friends on and off the court.
So as the NBA trade deadline creeps closer each winter, DeRozan said he knows to brace for the inevitable uncertainty the market creates.
“You kind of have an open mind around this time of year that anything is possible,” DeRozan said. “You try to just control what you can control and when anything happens, we all be refreshing Twitter and Instagram and social media and see what’s next.”
Charlotte might not be a final landing spot for Lowry. The Hornets reportedly have been seeking to flip Lowry; if that doesn’t happen, they might buy out his contract.
The Bulls have an open roster spot and a little wiggle room under the luxury tax. And as injuries continue to rack the backcourt, they have a need for backup guards.
That raises the obvious question: Could Lowry be a fit in Chicago?
“Kyle will fit anywhere where I’m at,” DeRozan said.
DeRozan said an on-court reunion has never been a priority for him and Lowry. The pair have maintained their friendship throughout their moves away from Toronto, but they haven’t schemed to land on the same roster.
“What’s crazy is we never really talk about it,” DeRozan, 34, said. “We more so reminisce on the old days, the old moments, the old situations. But we never try to bring up the now.”
That doesn’t mean he wouldn’t cherish an opportunity to play alongside his friend again.
Bringing in Lowry — a six-time All-Star — would raise serious rotation questions in Chicago. The Bulls remain rock solid in their confidence that Coby White can command the starting point guard role. This means Lowry would either move off-ball in the starting lineup or — more likely — take up the mantle of point guard for the bench unit.
This isn’t an unexpected step in Lowry’s career. The Heat were trying to shift their point guard role during the offseason, when they pursued Damian Lillard. And at 37, it’s natural that Lowry could take more of a support position with his final team.
With all that in mind, DeRozan said he would be more than willing to facilitate conversations between Lowry and the Bulls front office if either was interested in making a move to bring the guard to Chicago.
“If that was something he wanted to do, sure, why not?” DeRozan said. “That’s one of my closest friends, one of the smartest players I’ve played with since I’ve been in the league. Why not?”