Kyle Lowry, becomes a free agent as of Monday, May 4th, following the Toronto Raptors elimination from the playoffs at the hands of the Brooklyn Nets in game 7. The most important issue that Raptors’ GM Masai Ujiri faces in this upcoming offseason, is resigning the 28 year old point guard, who made $6.21 million in his contract year, but now will likely command a much larger contract.
Kyle Lowry was traded to the Raptors in summer of 2012, and had the best season of his career this campaign, nearly becoming an all-star. Lowry averaged career highs in minutes played (36.2), points (17.9), assists (7.4), 3-pointers (2.4), and field goal attempts (13.7) as he took on a more offensive role with the team in 2013-2014.
May 4, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Raptors head coach Dwane Casey and Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry (7) reacts after a call in game seven of the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs against the Brooklyn Nets at the Air Canada Centre. Brooklyn defeated Toronto 104-103. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
Of course, Lowry himself did not verbally commit to resigning with the Raptors, but did drop plenty of hints during the final day press conference that certainly suggests that he wishes to be back in Toronto next season. Mentioning the teammates, the franchise, the culture, and the potential situation for winning as the key points to his possible resigning.
“I think probably the situation, I want to be happy, I want to win. But it’s something that me and my agent have yet to talk about. But I know I want to win and that’s important to me,” Lowry said about the factors that will play into his final decision.
Listing his points of consideration when factoring his free agency, Lowry said, “Winning, family, situation, just how can I grow as a player as a man, organization, franchise, all those things. And that’s just off the top of my head without even thinking.”
But the point guard is in no hurry to make his decision, with game 7 just 24 hours removed and fresh on his mind.
“It’s not really convincing, it’s just one of those things where I have to sit down and look at everything, weigh the options, do what’s best for myself and my family. But it’s still too early, I’m still game 7 mode, it’s still early to think about those things,” Lowry said.
Happy was a word thrown around when Lowry was describing the situation the franchise is currently in, he sees the winning culture being a big selling point.
“The situation is just on winning, the way the culture is around the team. The culture around here is unbelievable from top to bottom,” Lowry said. “I love this place, I love the situation, simple as that.”
“I’m very happy. this is one of the best seasons that I’ve had through and through. Best coaches, teammates, upstairs it’s been great. I am happy, without a double I can say that I’m happy.”
Further explaining the camaraderie that exists between himself and the teammates, Lowry expresses a fun locker room vibe, saying it’s the best roster he’s been apart of in his career. Everything that came out of Kyle Lowry’s mouth during the press conference suggests that the 8-year point guard wants to be back with the Raptors franchise.
“We got young guys and we got a few older guys, and we have a mixture of guys. The young guys are hilarious, and the older guys just laugh at the young guys cause of the things they say. All they care about, they want to mess around and play 1-on-1 and joke all day. It’s a good mixture, it’s a great mixture actually. I said it yesterday the best 14 other guys I’ve had in the locker room in my career.”
“The exit meeting with Masai was great, it was a very positive up beat, positive great fun, interactive meeting.”
“I said what I had to say to my teammates yesterday, and like I said, this team I’ll be able to text JV, Greivis, DeMar, Chuck, whenever I want. And because we’re so close I will text those guys and stay in touch because we actually get along.”
All signs point to Kyle Lowry wanting to stay with the franchise, including his love for the city and their fans. Saying that he’ll be back a few times during the summer to visit and has plans with Masai Ujiri.
“Of course I could see myself back, we just went to game 7 in the first round and nobody expected us to be there. So of course I can see that,” Lowry said. “But those things are on my mind, but I haven’t really gotten to deep process of thought yet. It’s still 2 months away, I still got a long way to go. And I still got a lot of thinking and talking to do.”
And a huge part in his consideration to return is to keep the Raptors strong backcourt intact, along with DeMar DeRozan who Kyle Lowry has developed a strong bond with over 2 seasons. Lowry sees playing with DeRozan as a huge asset.
“Play with a guy [DeMar] who’s an all-star, play with a guy who’s on his way to being a superstar. Learning to do it on both sides of the floor. Why wouldn’t you want to play iwth that, why wouldn’t you want to be on the team with a guy like that. If you were in the league and find a guy like that, you would want to play with him.”