The Raptors made re-signing Kyle Lowry – an All-Star-caliber point guard who led them to the East’s No. 3 seed – their top priority.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:
Free agent guard Kyle Lowry has reached agreement on a four-year, $48 million contract extension with the Toronto Raptors, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
The deal has an early termination option allowing Lowry the opportunity to become a free agent after the third season.
That’s fantastic value for the Raptors. Signing him to just $12 million per year, they’ll have flexibility in coming seasons to continue upgrading the team.
Most importantly, they’ll have Lowry. Their best player, he should keep the Raptors a challenger in the East.
As for Lowry, he gets more long-term security than he’s ever had in his sometimes turbulent career. Perhaps, he could have drawn more money from another team, but there’s clearly a comfort level in Toronto.
Plus, if he wants to seek a larger deal – especially possible if the salary cap jumps with the new television contract – he can in just three years. Technically, the contract can’t contain an early termination option for the fourth season. (Those are allowed only for the fifth season.) However, a player option is permissible and offers the same de facto functionality.
Meanwhile, the Heat must identify another dream candidate.
Chris Paul broke his finger Saturday.
The initial diagnosis said the injury wasn’t serious.
Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times:
Paul obviously wouldn’t push it during the preseason. If the Clippers are allowing him to play, this can’t be bad.
Really, the most challenging aspect to this is grasping the concept that a broke finger can be a minor injury.
Brad Stevens has a big challenge this year – sorting the Celtics’ deep roster of similarly able players.
It seems that process is shaking out at power forward and center.
A. Sherrod Blakely of CSN Northeast:
it appears Boston’s first four bigs will be starters David Lee and Tyler Zeller, with Amir Johnson and Kelly Olynyk off the bench.
That leaves Jonas Jerebko and Jared Sullinger, potentially on the outside looking in as far as the regular rotation is concerned.
Lee is the best passer of the bunch, which could partially explain why he’s starting. Boston’s most likely starting point guard, Marcus Smart, is still growing into the role of the lead ball-handler at the NBA level. Lee and presumptive starting shooting guard Avery Bradley can take some pressure off him.
Olynyk can space the floor for Isaiah Thomas-Johnson pick-and-rolls with the reserves and run pick-and-pops with Thomas himself.
I’m a little surprised Zeller is starting over Johnson, though. The Celtics just signed Johnson to a $12 million salary, and I thought they’d rely on his defense to set a tone early. Like Johnson, Zeller is a quality pick-and-roll finisher who can thrive with Thomas.
This is particularly bad news for Sullinger, who – barring a surprising contract extension – is entering a contract year. It seems those reports of offseason conditioning haven’t yet paid off. Jerebko’s deal also isn’t guaranteed beyond this season, but at least he has already gotten his mid-sized payday. Sullinger is still on his rookie-scale contract.