Kyle Lowry doesn’t want to leave the Raptors, he just wants to get paid.
In what should be a surprise to nobody, Lowry will opt out of the $12 million he is set to make for the 2017-18 season and seek the big bucks as a free agent next summer. With the cap reaching unprecedented levels, you can’t blame him. The question is, at age 31, will the Raptors pay to keep him and for how long? Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports has the details after speaking to Lowry.
Lowry plans to opt out of the final year of his contract, he told The Vertical, passing on a $12 million salary in 2017-18 to join a point-guard marketplace that will include the Los Angeles Clippers’ Chris Paul and Golden State’s Steph Curry, who has already said he plans to re-sign with the Warriors.
As an organization, the Raptors have richly rewarded those responsible for the franchise’s unprecedented success: From DeMar DeRozan’s five-year, $139 million extension in July, to the extensions and high-end raises for president Masai Ujiri and coach Dwane Casey, Toronto conducts itself as a legitimate big-market powerhouse.
“If you’re that franchise’s guy, and you’re the guy that they’ve been rolling with, and you’ve given that franchise everything you have, yeah, I think [the talks] should be easy,” Lowry told The Vertical. “I think it should be a situation where a guy shouldn’t have to talk to another team. DeMar didn’t have the chance to talk to another team. For me, I think that at 12:01 a.m. on July 1 – something should be close. If not, I’m open to seeing what else is out there.”
Few players have improved year over year and put as much into their game as Lowry, who has risen to the level of All-Star, franchise cornerstone point guard, and Olympic gold medal winner. He has earned the big payday coming his way, and no doubt the Raptors will be willing to back up the Brinks truck to keep him.
The question is less the money than the years. Lowry will be 31 next summer, approaching the age when point guards often start to see a decline in production. This has the potential to be the kind of contract where it is a fair deal the first few years but the team may regret that fifth season. Can they convince him to take four years (which is all other teams could offer him as a free agent)? Is there a deal to be had?
That said, don’t expect Lowry to be a guy playing the field — expect the Raptors to step up, Lowry to agree, and the deal to get done soon after free agency opens.