Kyle Lowry was the heart of the Raptors this season, and demonstrated that in a heartbreaking Game 7 loss to the Nets.
He finished with 28 points, seven rebounds and three assists, and was given the ball with the clock winding down to drive to the basket for a chance at the game-winning shot.
It ultimately didn’t fall, and the Raptors were eliminated from the postseason by a single point.
Lowry seemed encouraged by the season that had just ended, however, and made an interesting statement as part of his postgame remarks.
“This is only the start for us and the Raptors organization,” Lowry said, via Josh Lewenberg of TSN.
The Raptors have many decisions to make in retooling the roster, but what to do with Lowry is right at the top of their list. Toronto was in talks to trade Lowry during the first half of the season, remember, and it had nothing to do with his ability or lack of fit with the Raptors.
Lowry is an unrestricted free agent this summer, and earlier in the year, when it wasn’t yet known if Toronto would come together to make the playoffs and then perform so well once they got there, the front office was unsure if the team would be willing to offer Lowry the type of contract he would command.
There were trade talks right up until the deadline, most notably with the Knicks, who likely could have landed Lowry in exchange for some combination of a young player like Iman Shumpert and a future first round draft pick.
Ultimately, New York believed the price was too high, and obviously, the way Lowry played this season, not pulling the trigger cost the Knicks a chance to make the playoffs.
It isn’t yet known which way the Raptors will go with Lowry; they’ll have cap space and will undoubtedly be looking to add talent to this group that played so intensely during the team’s first trip to the postseason in six years.
The contract offers that roll in might be bigger from another team than the one the Raptors are ultimately willing to hand out. But at least for now, it appears as though Lowry sees himself as a part of Toronto’s future.