Raptors’ Kyle Lowry Signs One-Year Extension

OCTOBER 14: The signing is official, per the NBA.com transacations log.

OCTOBER 7: The 2019/20 season won’t be a contract year for Kyle Lowry after all, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, who hears from agent Mark Bartelstein that the Raptors and their starting point guard have agreed to a one-year contract extension worth $31MM.

The extension will lock up Lowry through the 2020/21 season, putting him on track for unrestricted free agency in the summer of 2021 and taking another top player off the 2020 market. As a result of the deal, Lowry will no longer be part of the group of Raptors who enter the season on pricey expiring contracts, though Marc Gasol, Serge Ibaka, and Fred VanVleet still fit that bill.

Lowry publicly expressed his desire for an extension in early August at Team USA’s pre-World Cup camp, and according to Wojnarowski, the Raptors’ brass – including president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri and GM Bobby Webster – has been motivated for months to get a deal done. The new extension should be a win-win for the two sides — Lowry gets one last big payday, while Toronto retains its cap flexibility for the ’21 offseason, when several stars are projected to reach free agency.

“We are so appreciative of how Masai and Bobby handled every aspect of this negotiation,” Bartelstein told Wojnarowski. “Once again, they displayed how they look after their players in a first-class manner, especially someone like Kyle who they recognize has such a legacy with the franchise.”

Lowry, who has made the Eastern Conference All-Star team for five consecutive seasons, scored a modest 14.2 PPG in 2018/19, but averaged a career-high 8.7 APG and had some big games during the Raptors’ championship run. In addition to doing the little things on defense (he led all players in the postseason in charges drawn and loose balls recovered), the 33-year-old also memorably opened Game 6 of the NBA Finals by scoring Toronto’s first 11 points.

While Lowry’s cap charge for 2019/20 is about $35MM, he may not actually earn quite that much, since he has $1.7MM in likely bonuses tied to individual and team accomplishments. If the Raptors don’t make the Eastern Conference Finals and Lowry doesn’t earn a spot on the All-Star team, his cap hit would be reduced to approximately $33.3MM at season’s end.

Lowry will still have the opportunity to earn some or all of those incentives in the newly-added year of his contract, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks, who notes (via Twitter) that the usual six-month trade restriction won’t apply to the veteran. Lowry’s new deal doesn’t exceed the limits of an extend-and-trade, since it’s just for one year and doesn’t feature a raise. Still, unless things really go south in Toronto this season, it seems unlikely the Raptors will consider trading the Villanova alum within the next six months.

As for the effect of Lowry’s new deal on Toronto’s 2020 cap space, the club still has a good amount of flexibility, though a lucrative extension for Pascal Siakam by the October 21 deadline would all but eliminate that flexibility. Guaranteed 2020/21 salaries for Norman Powell, OG Anunoby, Patrick McCaw, and Lowry add up to approximately $50MM, with cap holds for Siakam and VanVleet pushing that number up to about $75MM. The NBA’s latest projection calls for a $116MM cap in ’20/21.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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23 thoughts on “Raptors’ Kyle Lowry Signs One-Year Extension

  1. To me this is a puzzling move.

    The only reason I can see behind it is that the Raptors cannot attract top free agents so they have to take what they can get. Tough to improve on Kyle Lowry in the free-agent Market…. but still can’t you get point guard in a trade? Hard to figure this one. I guess they don’t want to rebuild totally, but with the other guys in contract years how can you not? Not sure how to figure this out still.

    • Jason Lancaster

      Who would they trade for? Chris Paul, Dragic, and Teague are available, but they’re not better than Lowry. San Antonio has an extra young PG, but they’re not going to make a deal unless it’s criminally bad for Toronto.

      And waiting until summer doesn’t solve anything, because the market is going to be pretty shallow.

      This was a reasonable move. Lowry gets a little more than he’s worth next year, but Toronto can avoid overpaying a vet next summer. Not to mention, Lowry is more valuable now on the trade market.

      • From Toronto’s point of view I guess yes it is. Specially considering Hoops rumors article that came out today about it.

  2. Reflect

    Weird move and an overpay for an aging player who was never that great in the first place

      • Reflect

        I have no idea what I am supposed to get out of this comment.

        Anyway, $33 mil is more than Durant, Giannis, James Harden, and Kyrie Irving all got last year.

        I am not saying Lowry is/was bad, but he definitely isn’t in that tier of greatness that warrants this kind of money.

        • floridagators

          You have the opportunity to make higher salaries when you have been in the league longer.

        • brian_james

          He was the 2nd best player on a title team. Yeah, $33 million is a lot per year, but it’s only one year. To pay less annually they’d have to give him multiple years, which kinda defeats the purpose

  3. subarusports

    They won the ship, it’s a 1 year thank you deal. Sends a message to rest of the league that Toronto is a stand up organization and treats players well.

    • Ok that makes sense… from a feel good position.. it’s the right thing to do sort of thing.. ok, I get that. They don’t need the cap space anyway so may as well do this.

    • x%sure

      Yes, players will notice this move. It might allow them to play hardball with others like Siakam and keep a good rep. Or let markets decide with less hard feelings.

  4. Tazza

    Makes sense to me. They don’t want to rebuild and instead of having to deal with expiring deals of Gasol, Ibaka, FVV and Lowry they choose to resign Lowry now on a 1 year deal.
    After all if they do decide to rebuild then it’s a 1 year deal which frees up 31 mil in a loaded free agency class. Lowry is this teams heart and soul, He’s been there through thick and thin and to get them a chip (with help) was huge for Toronto. Giving him a 1 year deal says don’t worry about off the court issues continue to do what you do best and we got you. Next year we may head in another direction but your our guy and your covered.

  5. formerlyz

    Kyle Lowry is still among the leaders in real plus minus at the PG position

    • IslandFlava

      No merit there he is in a winning team… so the RPM is gonna be good even if you are an average player like him, if you great but in a loosing team your RPM ain’t gonna be that good, right?

    • harden-westbrook-mvps

      So is LeBron James, the Lakers are still on the hook for $118M.

        • Dodgethis

          So is Westbrook, who mind bogglingly gets paid at all. Not to mention harden, who gets paid to flop around like a fish out of water and take free throws he shouldn’t get in the first place. Oh, I guess now that guys don’t guard him as hard out of b.s. foul call he can finally make 3s. I’d rather pay Lowry 50 million as a thank you for the championship than pay anyone on the rockets to not win.

  6. phillyballers

    What’s this like a Kobe last year deal for a Derek Fisher level player?

  7. Dodgethis

    Guys, team knows it’s run is over, they are giving the money to Lowry as a thank you.

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