Toronto GM Masai Ujiri got a lot of calls about Kyle Lowry in the weeks leading up to the trade deadline, but he turned them all away — Toronto is the No. 3 seed in the East and the Atlantic Division leaders. Surprising though that is. And with a real chance to not only make the playoffs but also advance to the second round for only the second time in franchise history. Toronto has to take it. And they can’t make that run without Lowry.
Lowry becomes a free agent this summer and it’s been the conventional wisdom that he is gone and Toronto will resume its rebuilding process after this detour.
Don’t be so sure — Lowry could be back with the Raptors next season, reports the Toronto Sun.
If Ujiri believed there was zero chance of re-signing Lowry, you can bet a fair amount of money he would have found a way to get some return on Lowry before he jumped ship.
The fact that he is still here at least suggests not only that Ujiri has in an interest in retaining him, but that he believes he has a fair chance of getting his signature on another contract….
“People are going to say it’s a contract year, but in our opinion the kid has played all out and he has given it his all,” Ujiri said of Lowry. “Kyle has adjusted. We set some good rules and had good talks with him (at the beginning of the season). He was up front with us and we were up front with him … and he is living up to his part and I think we have lived up to our part too and that’s how you build partnerships and we’ll see how he grows.”
The question is cost. Lowry is likely going to land a multi-year deal likely north of $8 million a season. How far north and how much the Raptors are willing to pay to keep him are the questions — with Lowry and DeMar DeRozan the Raptors would to be a respectable team, a playoff team. Not one tanking to get better.
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It’s something to watch, there’s become a comfort level with Lowry in Toronto, but in the end he’s going to go where the dollars lead him.