Raptors Notes: Lowry, Brissett, Miller, McCaw

A one-year contract extension for Kyle Lowry was always the outcome that made the most sense for the Raptors, according to Blake Murphy of The Athletic, who points out that Lowry’s new deal leaves the team’s cap sheet relatively clean for the 2021 offseason, which is expected to feature a star-studded class of free agents.

Toronto’s new agreement with Lowry also signals that – as expected – the club has no immediate plans to tear down its core and launch a full-fledged rebuild following Kawhi Leonard‘s departure. As Murphy writes, exhibiting the ability to remain competitive without a superstar player has worked out well for teams like the Nets and Clippers in recent years — both those franchises made huge free agent splashes this summer in part because they’d built solid cores for their newly-signed stars to complement.

With Marc Gasol, Serge Ibaka, and Fred VanVleet among the Raptors veterans still unsigned beyond 2019/20, Lowry’s short-term extension is just one part of the puzzle for the franchise. Still, it provides a strong hint that president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri wants to maintain a winning culture as Toronto begins a new era.

Here’s more on the Raptors:

  • Danny Leroux of The Athletic and Dan Devine of The Ringer both make the case that Lowry’s one-year extension is a win-win for both the team and the veteran point guard.
  • Oshae Brissett and Malcolm Miller were among the players who looked good in the Raptors’ preseason win over Houston in Tokyo this morning, writes Blake Murphy of The Athletic. Murphy believes Brissett is a favorite to claim one of Toronto’s open two-way contract slots. Miller, who isn’t eligible for a two-way deal, will have a trickier path to a spot on the regular season roster, unless the Raptors decide they’re comfortable with Patrick McCaw and Terence Davis as third point guards and opt not to hang onto Cameron Payne or Isaiah Taylor.
  • Over the weekend, Doug Smith of The Toronto Star suggested that McCaw – who signed a two-year, $8MM contract with the Raptors this summer – is among those in the running for a spot in the starting lineup. However, Murphy notes that the ex-Warrior still didn’t look aggressive or especially comfortable on the offensive end in today’s game, playing 21 minutes without taking a single field goal attempt.

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