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.
Dwyane Wade has earned his status as an elder statesman, the E.F. Hutton kind of veteran who speaks and everybody listens.
Rookie Justise Winslow is listening.
Winslow (who should have gone higher in this draft) is a perfect fit for the Heat and he’s going to be part of their rotation off the bench from the start of the season (along with Josh McRoberts and Amare Stoudemire). Wade has already fully stepped into the mentor role with Winslow working with him on post moves, reports Jason Lieser at the Palm Beach Post.
“As his career develops, hopefully he’s able to do multiple things on the floor, but right now there’s gonna be certain things (Erik Spoelstra) wants him to do, and some of those things I’m good at,” Wade said. “I’m just passing down knowledge to someone who I think could be good at things that I have strengths at. It’s gonna take a while, but if he figures it out at 21, he’s ahead of the curve. I figured it out at like 27.
“All of us are where we’re at because someone before us helped us. They helped by letting us sit there and watch film with them or having conversations with them. If he’s a student of it and he really wants to know, I’m a pretty decent teacher in certain areas.”
This is what you want out of a veteran leader and some of the young teams out there have done an excellent job adding this kind of mentor — Kevin Garnett in Minnesota may be the best example. Someone who can pass on his wisdom and show the team’s young players how to be a professional and win in the NBA.
It’s a little different for Winslow, he and the Heat are more in a win-now mode, but he should be able to contribute to that.
Bill Bridges, a star as a Kansas Jayhawk who went on to have a 12-year NBA career that included being part of the 1975 Golden State Warriors championship team, has passed away, according to the University of Kansas.
Bridges was an undersized power forward at 6’6″ but he was a beast on the boards who averaged 11.9 rebounds a game for his career and more than 13 a game for six straight years at the peak of his career. That 11.9 per game average is still 27th all-time in NBA history.
A New Mexico native, Bridges was a three-time All-Star (all as a member of the Hawks), two-time All-NBA Defensive team, and was part of the 1975 Warriors title team. Besides the Hawks (St. Louis and Atlanta) and Warriors, Bridges played for the Sixers and Lakers.
Our thoughts are with his family and friends.