Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri on Kyle Lowry: ‘I’m not trading him’

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Just eight months ago, Kyle Lowry trade rumors were still popping up. In the weeks before, they were inescapable. The Knicks, Nets, Lakers and Warriors were all linked to the Toronto point guard.

But the Raptors held onto Lowry – wisely.

He led them to the East Conference’s third-best record and re-signed long-term with Toronto. Lowry has the Raptors poised to threaten in the East for the next few years.

Mike Ganter of the Toronto Sun:

Masai Ujiri walks up to a gaggle of reporters and upon hearing the topic of the day is Kyle Lowry immediately states “I’m not trading him.”

The Raptors can’t trade Lowry until Jan. 15, so it’s not as if Ujiri could even flip the point guard, anyway.

But afterward? This seems like a pretty strong endorsement, further than most general managers go.

Remember, Ujiri re-signed Nene in Denver to a lucrative contract and then traded him during the first season of the deal. In hindsight, the common presumption was Ujiri planned to trade Nene from the moment of the signing – treating it as an extended sign-and-trade. Essentially, that was the only route for the Nuggets to get value for Nene other than continuing to pay him more than they thought he was worth.

But I don’t recall Ujiri going out of his way back then to say he wouldn’t trade Nene.

Lowry is the Raptors’ best player, their leader. Ujiri is treating him such.

That doesn’t mean the situation will remain the same in the future, and a lot can change during the next four years. But right now, I trust Ujiri intends to build around Lowry rather than use him as a trade chip.