How a Kyle Lowry trade would have changed everything


If Masai Ujiri had been successful in moving Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan would have demanded a trade and likely sent the Toronto Raptors in a vastly different direction.

Most Toronto Raptors fans are familiar with the story of Masai Ujiri’s attempts to trade Kyle Lowry during the 2013/14 season. If the New York Knicks had agreed to the deal, it would have likely sent the Raptors’ franchise headed in a vastly different direction.

The Raptors wouldn’t have been the beneficiaries of Lowry’s development into a three-time NBA All-Star and one of the best point guards in the league. It could have also resulted in the loss of another one of their stars.

DeMar DeRozan admitted on Monday that if Lowry had gone to the Knicks, he would have asked for a trade. Rudy Gay had just been moved, and DeRozan was disillusioned with the direction of the franchise.

The three-time All-Star recounted a conversation he had at the time with Lowry. As reported by the Canadian Press via Sportsnet, he told his teammate: “If you get traded, I’m going to ask for a trade too.”

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No doubt, Toronto Raptors fans don’t want to think about how things could have turned out if Lowry and DeRozan left. However, you imagine the team wouldn’t have embarked on the most successful period in franchise history, which has included three Atlantic Division titles, four consecutive playoff appearances and a first ever trip to the Eastern Conference finals.

Instead, Lowry’s move to New York fell through and the Raptors started to win. As DeRozan told the Canadian Press:

"“That whole season, the edge that we were playing with was incredible. It made it fun. It was a moment of us really standing tall and really fighting through all the adversity.”"

What makes this whole situation even more intriguing is the fact DeRozan and Lowry didn’t even speak during the latter’s first season with the team. This is obviously a far cry from nowadays, with the duo being the closest of friends both on and off the court.

DeRozan discussed the matter with ESPN‘s Adrian Wojnarowski. The 28-year-old said:

"“I don’t think I’ve ever said this publicly but he will tell you. My first year with Kyle, me and Kyle didn’t say a word to one another, we didn’t speak. We didn’t have a conversation, we didn’t hang out, we didn’t go eat, we didn’t sit next to each another. Nothing. I didn’t have his phone number. Nothing.”"

In fairness to Lowry, a main part of the reason for this was because he didn’t think he’d be in Toronto for that long. As DeRozan told Wojnarowski, the 2006 first round draft pick purposely kept his distance from the rest of the team.

However, it all turned out okay in the end, thanks to James Dolan not giving the go ahead for Lowry’s trade to New York. As a result, Lowry lowered his guard, formed a close relationship with DeRozan and both players became All-Stars.

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What has been your favourite moment of DeRozan’s and Lowry’s respective careers with the Toronto Raptors? Further, what is your prediction for how this season will play out for the team? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.