Kyle Lowry officially inked on a one-year extension worth $31 million gives the Toronto Raptors tons of flexibility moving forward, which fans should be thrilled about.
Lowry has truly seen it all in Toronto. From the heartbreak of losing to Brooklyn in 2014, to the disappointments against LeBron James and the Cavaliers, when it felt like the Raptors would never breakthrough. Then finally, he had his career-defining moment in 2019 when he provided valuable playmaking and leadership at the point guard position during the playoff run.
When Kyle raised the Larry O’Brien trophy over his head, he officially cemented himself as an all-time Raptors great.
There have been no signs of regression in Lowry’s game at all, at least as of yet. Last season he put up 14.2 points-per-game and 8.7 assists-per-game, along with 15 points per game in the playoffs en route to a championship.
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Fans in Toronto can expect solid production from Lowry for the remainder of his time here. More than that, we can appreciate the leadership that he’ll offer to the young players on the Raptors’ roster. This, more than anything, could be a reason for the extension.
And why not? It’s not like the Raptors need to save cap space. At this moment, they’re very comfortable with perhaps overpaying Lowry based on the market in exchange for stability and fewer distractions. Michael Grange of Sportsnet reported that Lowry was considering holding out without an extension, which team President Masai Ujiri wanted nothing to do with.
Team culture is something that’s very important to Masai and the Raptors. This extension shows how much the Raptors truly value that culture, as Lowry has arguably been the biggest factor in creating it. His strong work ethic and bulldog mentality speak for itself, and it impacts the team tremendously.
Yes, $31 million sure is a lot of money. However, it really doesn’t affect the Raptors’ cap situation all that much. They have tons of money to spend after this year, and keeping Lowry around makes sense for a number of reasons.
The Raptors now have options regarding the value that they have in Lowry. He could play both seasons here and then walk at the age of 36, when he most certainly won’t be the same player he is today. He could help guide the youth in the meantime as Toronto begins the post-Kawhi era, with the likes of Pascal Siakam, OG Anunoby and Fred VanVleet forming the new core as the veterans get phased out.
Toronto could keep Lowry on the roster this year, then flip him next summer to a team desperate for a veteran point guard. They could even trade him this year if the team is underperforming, and get young pieces in exchange for veterans such as Lowry, Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol.
The questions lie in whether or not the Raptors try to contend again this season, or begin a retooling process surrounding their young core that’s in place.
No matter which path the Raptors go down, Lowry’s one-year extension means that Toronto holds the cards, all while keeping their longest-tenured player happy.
What are your thoughts on the Raptors getting Lowry signed for another season? What are your expectations for him this season? Let us know in the comments below.