- Marc Stein, ESPN Senior Writer
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The Raptors, fresh off the weekend deal that dispatched Rudy Gay to Sacramento, are trying to construct a trade that routes point guard Kyle Lowry to the Knicks, according to sources with knowledge of the discussions.
Toronto and New York combined on a deal in the offseason that sent former No. 1 overall pick Andrea Bargnani to the Knicks. ESPN.com reported Sunday that the Raptors' next move, after finding a taker for Gay, would be finding a new home for Lowry, who is in the final year of his contract at a palatable $6.2 million.
Yet it remains to be seen if the Raptors and Knicks can reach a consensus on deal terms this time, with Toronto said to be seeking two of the Knicks' three best trade assets -- Iman Shumpert, rookie Tim Hardaway Jr. and a future first-round pick -- in addition to Raymond Felton in exchange for Lowry.
Sources told ESPN.com's Chris Broussard on Thursday afternoon that the Knicks' reluctance to include a first-round pick in the deal was among the factors holding things up.
The New York Daily News, citing a source, reported in Friday's editions that Dolan is having second thoughts about the trade and was not happy to see details of the proposed deal leaked in ESPN.com's initial report.
The Daily News' report also asserts that Dolan has some hesitation to make another deal with Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri because of the widespread perception that Ujuri outfoxed the Knicks in past dealings. Ujiri was Denver's GM at the time of the Knicks' trade for Carmelo Anthony in February 2011 and also constructed the deal that sent Bargnani to New York last summer.
The Knicks, sources say, appear willing to package one asset from the trio of Shumpert, Hardaway and a first-round pick to the Raptors along with Felton. But giving up two might prove too high a price for Lowry, who becomes an unrestricted free agent in July and can walk away for nothing at season's end.
But the Knicks don't possess a first-round pick they can offer Toronto, based on league rules, before 2018.
New York announced Thursday that Felton, in the midst of a sub-par season, will be out two to three weeks with a strained left hamstring. The Knicks and Brooklyn Nets are among the teams pursuing Lowry to upgrade their backcourt, sources said, but Toronto's steep asking price for a free agent-to-be has, to this point, prevented any deal from completion.
Sources say that the Raptors are intent on getting some value for Lowry despite his looming free-agent status. When it comes to the Knicks specifically, Toronto has adopted that stance based on the premise that it is not only providing New York with a clear upgrade at the point but also taking on Felton's longer-term salary, with Felton owed nearly $8 million over the next two seasons after this one.
Knicks coach Mike Woodson said Friday at his team's shootaround in Boston that he's unsure whether a change of personnel was needed, given the team's early-season barrage of injuries.
"It's hard to say because we haven't had a chance to put this team together on the floor, because of all the injuries," Woodson said. "From a coaching standpoint, you at least have to see if it works. We haven't had that luxury yet of being able to do that."
3dSteve Ilardi and Jeremias Engelmann