Raptors guard Kyle Lowry understands the uncertainties of the trade market, but no matter what happens this month, he vows to remain loyal to the franchise where he has spent most of his NBA career, writes Tim Bontemps of ESPN.
Lowry, who will turn 35 when the trade deadline arrives March 25, has been the subject of rumors in recent weeks as Toronto ponders whether to be a buyer or seller. His on-court performance and championship experience make him attractive to contenders, and his expiring $30.5MM contract may make him expendable.
“At the end of the day, myself, my agent, the organization, everyone has to do what’s best for them, right? Everyone has to do what’s best for them, and that situation,” Lowry said. “Who knows what that is, right? Who knows what that’s going to be, who knows what that time is going to tell? For me, I know I’m still playing at a good enough level where I can help a team, I can help us, and get better.”
Lowry continues to produce for Toronto, averaging 18.0 points, 5.5 rebounds and 6.9 assists through 29 games. He expressed an allegiance to the team he has been with for the past nine years, telling reporters, “I will retire as a Toronto Raptor.” However, he stopped short of pledging to re-sign with the organization when he becomes a free agent this summer, noting that retiring as a Raptor could mean eventually signing a ceremonial one-day contract with the franchise.
Lowry also addressed a report that he has been telling people he will be leaving Toronto, insisting to reporters that it isn’t true.
“I don’t really get into that stuff, and it doesn’t bother me because rumors are rumors and they will always be,” he said. “But when something is said that doesn’t verbally come from me and I haven’t said anything, that’s when it gets to the point of, ‘Did you have me on record saying that? I want to know who the source is, because the source is me.’ That stuff is where you kind of defend yourself. I don’t really care about it. It’s just to defend myself for a quick second.”
Lowry could be among the best players on the trade market, Bontemps adds, if the Raptors decide to part with him and teams are willing to take on his salary. Many star players have either been traded or signed extensions in recent months, and Lowry is among the top remaining names with an expiring contract.
“For me, personally, whatever happens, we’ll see,” Lowry said. “I don’t know. We don’t know. Like, honestly, I don’t know. If I could tell you, if I could look at a crystal ball, I would tell you, but I don’t know what the crystal ball says. I don’t what is going to happen. I don’t know what they’re thinking, I’m thinking. We’ll just kind of get to that point and figure it out from there.”