It seems as though some drama is brewing in Toronto ahead of the July 1 free agency period.
All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry has a huge decision to make, as he can opt to stick with the Raptors, where he and the franchise have had a lot of regular-season success in recent years, or he can bolt towards a different situation entirely.
Bruce Arthur of the Toronto Star reported that, via his sources, Lowry has no interest in returning to the Raptors.
“Even if the organization did manage to make a deal for a big-time player, Kyle Lowry is a free agent, and multiple league sources say the all-star point guard has been grumbling about dissatisfaction with the Raptors for months. As of mid-May other teams were being told Lowry had ‘zero interest’ in returning to Toronto, even if the Raptors offered a maximum five-year deal. Which since the club had no intention of offering a five-year deal probably made Lowry’s declaration easier to make,” Arthur wrote.
Arthur also touched on the current state of the Raptors, who seem to be left out of the major offseason discussions at this point.
“Meanwhile, the Raptors remain at their franchise crossroads, still deciding which path to take. The prospect of trying to trade for George as a one-year rental — with his contractual Bird rights, which means you can outspend others to keep the player in free agency — seemed remote Monday night, though not impossible,” Arthur pointed out.
He continued, “Any Raptors deal would likely look something like this: centre Jonas Valanciunas, one of Norm Powell or at least Delon Wright, maybe a pick or two, and whatever else you can cobble together. Last year’s Raptors plus Paul George would be . . . jeez, really good, for a year. But it wouldn’t make much sense, long-term.”
Following the social media backlash of Arthur’s reporting, Lowry himself took to Twitter to defend himself and the notion that he has “no interest” in returning to Toronto:
Saying “Don’t believe what you hear” and “that bs FOR SURE didn’t come from me” didn’t explicitly deny the report or directly reassure Raptors fans that he has a desire to return, but it did give Toronto a glimmer of hope.
When looking around the landscape of the NBA, there are limited options for a starting point guard to end up in free agency.
While Lowry has connections with his hometown of Philadelphia, the 76ers moved up to land the No. 1 pick in the draft to take point guard Markelle Fultz, thus diminishing the chances that they’d pay up for Lowry.
The Indiana Pacers, San Antonio Spurs, Utah Jazz, Chicago Bulls, and Milwaukee Bucks are among the playoff teams that could use point guard help. If Chris Paul ends up leaving the Los Angeles Clippers, that would be another option.
The Denver Nuggets, Brooklyn Nets, New Orleans Pelicans, New York Knicks, Sacramento Kings, Detroit Pistons, Orlando Magic and Dallas Mavericks are other options, although there would need to be some maneuvering in terms of financials to make all of the destinations work.
Or, in contrast to the reporting by Arthur, Lowry could always stay put in Toronto as the franchise tries to keep up with the rest of the NBA.