The NBA champion Raptors had two All-Stars on last season’s roster. One – Kawhi Leonard – has since left for Los Angeles and will play for the Clippers in 2019/20. However, the other – Kyle Lowry – told reporters on Monday at USA Basketball’s World Cup training camp that he hopes to remain in Toronto going forward.
“I want to be there,” Lowry said, per Chris Mannix of SI.com. “I would love to do an extension, but we’ll see what happens … I would love to be there long-term. We’ll have the discussion when the time is right.”
Lowry, who is entering the final year of his current contract, became eligible for an extension last month. Veterans who sign three- or four-year deals can ink extensions after the two-year anniversary of their signing — Lowry finalized his current contract on July 7, 2017.
There has been no indication yet that the Raptors have discussed a new contract with Lowry this offseason or plan to do so before the season begins. Lowry’s $35MM expiring salary is one of several that the team will have off its books next summer, along with Marc Gasol ($25.6MM), Serge Ibaka ($23.3MM), and Fred VanVleet ($9.3MM). To maximize flexibility, Toronto may want to keep its 2020/21 cap sheet as clean as possible for now.
Still, if the price is right, I expect the Raptors to be open to extending their relationship with their starting point guard. Another $100MM commitment seems unlikely, but Lowry was one of the club’s most important players last season and remains productive at age 33.
As for the departure of the Raptors’ Finals MVP, Lowry conveyed no disappointment or frustration with Leonard’s decision. As Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.com details, Lowry said he told his teammate, “I’m happy for you” when he heard the news of Kawhi’s move to the Clippers.
“I am happy for the guys that … especially a guy that helped do something fantastic and something great,” Lowry said. “He’s an unbelievable friend of mine and is a good guy. He made a decision to go home and he is happy with that and I am happy for him. Truly. I am genuinely happy for him. It gives him a chance to be around his family and friends. You got to respect the guy and be happy for him.”