April 16, 2012; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets head coach Kevin McHale talks to point guard Kyle Lowry (7) against the Denver Nuggets during the second quarter at the Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Campbell-US PRESSWIRE
For whatever reason, Kyle Lowry has gone and joined the trend of superstars begging — in public — for his franchise to either comply with his most specific wishes or else move him to another team who will gladly do the same. It's the basketball world we live in, where superstar players not named Kevin Durant hold loyal franchises hostage to their wishes and expect to be Player-Coach-GMs, even with multiple years left on their contracts. It's sad, pathetic and in most cases, it is uncalled for.
And then we come to Lowry, who is far from a superstar and far from a franchise player. He doesn't qualify to be listed in the realm of "unhappy stars." Instead, he's somewhere else entirely, somewhere far off in the universe, presumably in its unshaved left armpit. Nobody goes there for a reason. It smells like shit.
If NBA players were sealants, you could plug Lowry into a leaking dam, and while he'd prevent the whole thing from collapsing, little by little water would keep leaking through. That's where Lowry is on the scale. It's not a bad role, but it's not a role that entitles him to make the comments he has made.
Really, just who does he think he is? Since when does the least-ugly flag girl tell her high school she wants to captain the cheerleading squad?
At the same time, I think anyone can spot Lowry's motivation. He's mad that he got Wally Pipped. He wants to be a starter and he thinks Kevin McHale didn't play him enough late in the season. That's fine. I'd be pissed too, so long as I could ignore the fact that Goran Dragic single-handedly brought Houston back from the dead. If I could ignore that McHale made the right decision — that he stuck to his most reliable guns in favor of using damaged goods clearly not ready to handle the same responsibility — then perhaps I could see Lowry's point.
But that's just not possible. McHale made the right call by playing Dragic, and if Lowry thinks that one full season's worth of borderline All-Star-worthy play should guarantee him playing time no matter what, clearly, Lowry is out of his element.
There's no doubt in my mind that prior to this episode, Lowry was the guy going forward. He's no superstar, but he's a good player on a good contract. To me, the Rockets would be better off letting Dragic walk elsewhere to be overpaid. But suddenly, that's all up in the air. It shouldn't be. The Rockets shouldn't let Lowry's words dictate their direction as a franchise, but now they must look at the alternatives. Lowry's contract is moveable. In re-signing Dragic and trading Lowry, Houston gets something in return for losing a point guard.
Also, from our nosebleeds, Lowry just lost all credibility as a so-called "team leader." This isn't what team leaders do. Next time he tries to pull that card, we can all point and laugh.
This wasn't supposed to happen with Lowry. It just wasn't. He's a likeable guy, a team-first player who plays hard every night. But take another look. Take away that team-first mentality. Take away the confidence you once had in him, and replace it with uncertainty. Suddenly, Kyle Lowry isn't worth it. That's all it takes, sometimes. Just one simple spoken sentence to the media:
"If things aren't addressed coaching-wise, I guess I have to be moved."
"I guess I have to be moved." To me, that sounds like an expectation, as if Lowry thinks that any above-average player who doesn't like his coach is suddenly deserving of a trade. As if it's in his contract, right? Section C, paragraph 2: "If the player does not get along with his coach, he has to be moved." Forget the whole process of trying to work it out. Forget the fact that Lowry is a player and not a general manager. Forget all of that. Let's just subscribe to the current NBA arrogance that is slowly killing the sport. It makes me sick.
So, uh, sorry about that new contract, Kyle. Sorry the Rockets sent the previous starter at point guard packing, just to give you a chance to win the role for good. Sorry about all those hidden snippets in the media that labeled you basically untouchable. Sorry for the votes of confidence amidst comments that questioned your legitimacy. Sorry, from all of us. We mislabeled you. We thought you were worth it, and apparently we were wrong.