The Toronto Raptors somewhat famously nearly traded Kyle Lowry to the New York Knicks last December.
The Knicks were prepared to trade Iman Shumpert and Tim Hardaway Jr. in a package for Lowry, but James Dolan vetoed the deal when Masai Ujiri demanded a first round pick.
"Dolan hired those business consultants [McKinsey & Company] last summer," said the source with knowledge of the Raptors' plans. "They had sold him on this whole thing about, 'You've been exploited by giving away first-round picks.' Could the deal have gotten done? Absolutely."
The Raptors were at a crossroads in early December after trading Rudy Gay and keeping Lowry long-term seemed unlikely.
"They were not going to re-sign Kyle," the source said.
The Raptors were 7-11 through Dec. 8 and then went on to post a 9-3 record from Dec. 10 to Jan. 3.
"We were looking at where our team was, and he's a player that affects a team in many ways," Ujiri said. "With a little bit of luck, we started winning, and that kind of helped our decision-making at the time. Luckily for us, [the trade] did not happen and we moved on."
Lowry received strong interest in free agency from the Houston Rockets, Miami Heat and Los Angeles Lakers, but ultimately decided to remain with Toronto.
"[Lowry] analyzed [free agency] very analytically and introspectively, rather than, 'Oh, I can get the money,'" the source said.
On the evening of July 2, Lowry agreed to a new four-year, $48 million contract extension.
"[The Raptors] weren't always the favorite, but Masai wanted to get the deal done, and it made it a lot easier," Lowry said in Las Vegas recently after a workout. "[Miller and I] approached it as a business and so did [the Raptors]. At the end of the day, I didn't wait for [the other teams]. I wanted to make my decision for myself."