Toronto Raptors: How long does Kyle Lowry have left?


Kyle Lowry says he wants to play until he’s 40, but how realistic is this, whether it be with the Toronto Raptors or another NBA team?

Prior to this season, Kyle Lowry signed a three-year, $100 million contract to remain with the Toronto Raptors. Given that he would be 34 when the current deal ends, many perceived this as being the final big payday of his career.

However, if Lowry has his way, he’s going to be around for a long time yet, whether it be in Toronto or elsewhere. If everything goes to plan, he aims to still be playing when he’s 40.

This may sound like an asinine thought process. However, as reported by TSN‘s Josh Lewenburg, the four-time All-Star makes a convincing case:

"“I just want to keep playing at a high level as long as I possibly can. I ain’t going to lie, [LeBron James] (who just turned 33) is kinda setting the trend to show that it ain’t the olden times. You know, guys at 32 [or] 33, [it used to be] like ‘Oh, they’re done’. But I think those days are over. Even Chris Paul (32) is older.“We all know our bodies, our diets, we’ve got nutritionists, chefs, trainers. It’s a little bit of a different game and [with new] technology I think guys will be able to play at a higher level at 35 or 36 years old. I’m not saying an extremely high level but look at Manu [Ginobili] (40), Jason Terry (40), Vince [Carter] (41), those guys are still contributing to their teams and they’re older gentlemen.”"

Now, to use James as an example is probably not realistic. Pure and simple, the guy is a one-off, in terms of his durability and seemingly indestructible body.

However, Lowry is definitely on the mark with referencing Paul, Ginobili, Terry and Carter. Each offers hope for his ambitions to still be playing when he enters his 40s.

In fairness, this mindset is nothing new for the 2006 first round draft pick. Thoughts go back to the beginning of the 2015-16 campaign, when fans were introduced to a fitter, slimmer version of their starting point guard.

As reported by Lewenburg, this new svelte figure was as a result of stopping snacking, especially late at night. Lowry hired a personal chef and a private trainer, while also taking up yoga and pilates.

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Lowry’s love for the game was also helped by finally finding a stable home in the NBA, when he joined the Toronto Raptors. And it has been reflected in his consistency on the court, combined with becoming more receptive to being coached.

However, there will still be obstacles in the way, when it comes to still playing for the better part of another decade. More specifically, no matter how well you look after yourself, injuries are still part and parcel of the NBA.

Just last season, Lowry was forced to miss 22 regular season games, mainly due to a wrist injury. And he suffered more misery in the playoffs, when an ankle sprain limited his effectiveness and availability against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Fortunately for the Philadelphia native, the Raptors have been able to combat the potential for injury this season, thanks to the strongest bench in the NBA. As a result, he is playing just 32.3 minutes per contest; his lowest average in five seasons.

Obviously, Raptors fans would love to see Lowry play for as long as possible, given the major part he has played in the best run in franchise history. Again speaking to Lewenburg, don’t expect him to leave anytime soon:

"“I love the game. You never want the time to come where you retire, it will come one day, but if I can hold it off a little bit longer than normal time, that is awesome to me.“If I’m 40 my oldest son will be 15 and if he wants me to stop playing and watch him hoop then that’ll be the decision [I have to make]. But until then, yeah, I want to play as long as I can. I want to play until they kick me out this league.”"

Next: Is Charles Oakley right with Vince Carter criticism?

What do you make of Lowry’s ambition? Obviously we cannot know for sure, but how long do you predict he realistically has left in the NBA, whether it be with the Toronto Raptors or another team? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.