In his 18th NBA season, Kyle Lowry is coming home.
The veteran guard has reached an agreement with the Charlotte Hornets on a contract buyout and plans to sign a $2.8 million deal with the Philadelphia 76ers upon hitting free agency, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. He will have to wait to clear waivers before signing the deal.
Lowry's agents confirmed the news with the classic "Coming Home" montage.
— Priority Sports (@PrioritySports) February 11, 2024
A deal with the Sixers would be a homecoming for Lowry, who was born and raised in North Philadelphia and attended the nearby Villanova University to play college basketball. Joining the Sixers also reunites Lowry with head coach Nick Nurse, with whom he won an NBA championship with the Toronto Raptors in 2019.
Lowry, now 37 years old, is likely to serve primarily as a backup point guard behind All-Star Tyrese Maxey. He joined the Hornets via the Terry Rozier trade with the Miami Heat and has not played a game for them.
With reigning MVP Joel Embiid still sidelined, the Sixers recently shook up their backcourt with an active trade deadline. The team acquired sharpshooter Buddy Hield and Cam Payne while sending away another veteran guard in Patrick Beverley, as well as the younger Jaden Springer.
A healthy Sixers backcourt now looks something like Maxey and Hield starting with some mix of Lowry, Payne and De'Anthony Melton behind them, though it's also conceivable Melton continues to start, as he has all season, and Hield comes off the bench. Kelly Oubre Jr. is around there, but he could be considered more of a forward.
It has been four years since Lowry was an All-Star and his decline hit the point where he was expendable for the Heat. While he started 35 out of 37 games, he was averaging fewer than 30 minutes per game for the first time since the 2008-09 season. His efficiency as a scorer is still holding with a .582 true shooting rate, but his assist rate is significantly down from even two years ago (32.3% to 19.6%) and his usage rate is a career-low 13.4%.
Homecoming and reunion aside, Lowry probably doesn't pick the Sixers unless they present a plan that sees him making plays when he's on the court. Once he's allowed to sign, we'll see what Nurse has planned for a team trying to tread water in the Eastern Conference while awaiting Embiid's return.
The Sixers currently sit fifth in the East with a record of 31-21, but are only 2.5 games ahead of the seventh place Orlando Magic and a trip to the play-in tournament.