When Kyle Lowry was brought to Toronto in the summer of 2012 by then-GM Bryan Colangelo the acquisition was hailed because the Raptors organization appeared to have found their elusive “point guard of the future” [as an aside, I’ve really grown to loathe that term and what it supposedly implies]. Unfortunately, under Colangelo’s watch Lowry struggled to live up to such a lofty expectations. He clashed with his coach, he failed to buy-in to Toronto’s defensive principles and the team as a whole never looked cohesive under his leadership. When the Raptors stumbled out of the gate this season, Lowry was very loudly put on the trading block and wasn’t expected to see 2014 as a member of the Toronto Raptors.

Well, it’s 2014, and Lowry looks as established with the Raptors as he’s ever looked, so much so that he’s reportedly been pulled off the market and instead been slotted into Toronto’s future team-building plans. How’s that for a quick turnaround?

The genesis of Lowry’s reclamation was the departure of good friend Rudy Gay, as so much of Toronto’s good fortune has been been this season. With Gay gone, Lowry was thrust into a leadership position with the team, and while that might have been a disaster only a year ago, this season it’s been the key to unlocking the full potential of Lowry’s game. Since Gay’s departure Lowry’s usage has increased (from 18.7% of possessions used to 20.8%), his assist percentage has spiked (from 30% to 36.5%) and he’s shooting the best true shooting percentage of his career (59.6 TS%). The team has catapulted from basement-dweller to one of the hottest teams in the NBA and made Lowry one of the most intriguing free agent options on the open market this summer.

Which, obviously, has Raptors fans worried.

Toronto is not famous for its ability to retain its own free agents without wildly overpaying to keep them. With Lowry having a career-year before heading into free agency, a good number of fans think that the Raptors should divest themselves of Lowry now for whatever they can get instead of losing him for nothing next summer. After all, Lowry is getting All-Star attention, so why would he limit himself to Toronto when there are so many better options out there for him in free agency?

To that point I have to ask: what team is a better option than Toronto? I’m serious, find me a place on the NBA landscape that is better equipped to sign Kyle Lowry next summer than Toronto. It’s not easy.

Let’s first assume that even if starting isn’t a huge factor in Lowry’s decision making (though it probably is) then playing time will be. While some teams will split their minutes at point guard pretty evenly between two options, the following teams probably won’t because of how good their current starter is: Boston, Brooklyn, Chicago, Cleveland, Denver, Golden State, LA Clippers, Minnesota, New Orleans, Oklahoma City, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Portland, San Antonio, Utah and Washington – that’s sixteen teams eliminated right off the bat from contention for Kyle Lowry’s services because they simply don’t have the minutes available to allocate to him to justify his going there.

After that you have a smattering of teams that may not have an All-Star in tow but aren’t exactly on the hunt for an upgrade (Dallas, Atlanta, Charlotte, Memphis and Indiana), teams that can’t afford to sign Lowry (New York and Miami) and a team that is more interested in finding their point guard in the draft rather than in free agency (Orlando). Detroit and Milwaukee spent a lot of money to swap point guards last summer, and while those guards have done well to show their new teams why their old teams gave up on them, that fact also makes it hard for either team to clear the decks to offer Lowry the money and minutes he’ll probably be seeking in July. Sacramento wants a point guard upgrade now, but given how thoroughly Lowry’s flourished out of Rudy Gay’s shadow, it’s hard to envision a scenario where he steps back behind it again in free agency. Oh, and good luck getting Kevin McHale and Lowry to ever work together again, a situation that basically kills any chance of Lowry winding up in Houston.

That leaves one team as a credible threat to lure Lowry away from Toronto: The Los Angeles Lakers. The Lakers have the glamour town, a ton of cap space and superstar to play alongside. The problem with Los Angeles, though, is that they appear more interested in giving Kobe Bryant an epic two-year sendoff than building a competitive team under the rules of the new collective bargaining agreement. That organization looks like a mess right now from a competitive standpoint, and while you can never totally rule out the Lakers as a free agent destination (*cough*stevenash*cough*), going there would appear to fly in the face of the competitive nature that Lowry has come to be known for.

What about Toronto, though? This is a young team on the rise in, let’s face it, an easier conference to compete in. Lowry is basically the undisputed leader of the team, but he also has a blossoming shooting guard as a sidekick that makes life a lot easier for Lowry out on the court. The Raptors are in a good position to bump Lowry’s salary up into the range of his peers (the $7-$9-million rage of Goran Dragic and Jeff Teague; remember, Lowry will be 28 when free agency hits so he doesn’t get the benefit of ‘young player on the rise’ money) while still maintaining a lot of flexibility for roster moves to improve the overall quality of the club. He’s finally got a coach that stands behind him, so much so that he’s stumping for his All-Star candidacy, and a GM that understands how to build a team with a small, aggressive point guard at it’s centre. The fan base has embraced him, the media can’t stop singing his praises and it’s hard to envision a team that could make better use of his particular skills while better hiding his particular flaws. It may have taken far longer than Colangelo would have liked, but Lowry and Toronto have indeed developed into a hand-in-glove fit, which is probably the organization is bullish about their ability to re-sign him this summer.

The fact is that for the first time in a long time, and maybe ever, an All-Star calibre player in Toronto may hit free agency with Toronto still representing his best and most desirable choice on the open market. Toronto has (eventually) given Lowry everything that he’s wanted in his career and Lowry has (eventually) given Toronto everything they could have wanted out of him. Yes it’s early still and things might still go sideways (that’s the kind of hedge you feel obligated to give about the Raptors after writing about them for a decade) but right now the Raptors look smart for holding onto Lowry and have every reason to feel confident that they can secure his services again this summer. Just chalk it up as another smack-in-the-face reminder that these Raptors really are starting to make a break from their underwhelming past. Now all they have to do is keep it up.

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  • Balls of Steel

    $36M for 4 years. DO IT!!!

    • DanH

      I expect about 44/5 rather than 36/4. If Lowry re-signs here, it will be with the full use of his Bird Rights – and if that means a slightly lower per year amount (say 44/5 versus 38/4) that’s good too.

  • Nilanka15

    Is there a chance Lowry was offended by Ujiri’s efforts to trade him?

    • Rjak27

      I’m just speculating here, but…

      I think that it was generally known that if Masai traded Rudy then Kyle would want out.

      So, after the Rudy Gay trade Masai started exploring his options.

      As it happened the team rallied around Kyle, making him their veteran leader, and Kyle really took to that role with increased production and more consistent play.

      I think that Kyle is much happier here than he though he would be without Rudy as a teammate.

      I also think that when it comes time for Kyle to weigh his options in free agency, he’ll realize that the best place for him is in Toronto.

      However, a lot hinges on team success – if the team manages to win a playoff round, I think you can almost guarantee that Kyle will be back next year.

      • Ian Reynolds

        Good summary.

    • Saskatoon Raps Fan

      I don’t think it’s an issue mainly because the raps wanted to trade him when the tank was supposedly on. Ujiri could probably spin it off as a complement to Lowry’s ability to win them some games.

      Of course Lowry’s agent could use that to demand more money, but as far as Lowry being insulted goes, I’m not too concerned

    • john

      I think it was made pretty clear by the timing of his spike in productivity that he didn’t want to be traded once again.

    • ckh26

      I don’t think Ujuri said he was trading him in print. I think the press in NYC speculated that and spun it out like it was a fact. Not that the NY Press ever should be doubted on letting facts get in the way of a good story. . 🙂

    • Pong

      He’s been traded so many times, I don’t think he takes these personally any more. Also i’m not sure how much of it was fact, but even when UM was trying to trade him, he was valuing him quite highly. It’s not like he was trying dump him for the highest bidder.

  • Roarque

    Which begs the question, why not sign him now? If Lowry truly wants what Toronto is providing him then he should be willing to sign on three conditions;
    1. He gets long term security – let’s say 3-4 years
    2. He gets to work with a coach who understands him – is Casey staying? – where’s HIS contract?
    3. He gets bonus clauses that motivate him -eg- $ for assist targets? -eg- $ for team success?
    I would always accept ” a little less ” to work for a company that actually cared about my ideas and employed like minded people with whom I could mesh. Isn’t that human nature? Having said that, those very companies always paid me very well.
    Lowry is worth 3 years / 25 Million with another 500K/year in bonus incentives – see (3) above.

    • Saskatoon Raps Fan

      With the CBA isnt it in the players better interest to wait until free agency to get the 4 yrs guaranteed money, rather than re-upping for 3? I think players waiting until free agency is going the verge reality of the NBA for the next little while

      • ckh26

        Good point. If the CBA says you can get a longer term and “mo money” by waiting to FA rather than re-upping during the season then the advice from his agent will be to wait till the summer. Can’t say that’s not good advice.
        I had posted earlier his FMV based on what others are getting is between 8M and 9M per year. If he can’t get the 9M due to CBA rules and the max term is 3 years now rather than 4 in July then hes going to wait.

        To TIM C.. re LA.. If LA comes calling Kyle will have to play with Kobe. Not many have the yen to do that.
        Kobe is incredibly “me and if your indoubt, its me centric. Moneys one thing. Living with that for at least 2 years might not be so desireable. See Howard, Dwight.

        If we make it to the playoffs and make a run there we should have a 50/50 chance of signing him to FMV contract. He has to like his chances of playing with guys he likes (these guys seem to like each other but you never really know) and being the number 1 guy at the point. We have to like having a better than average PG for 3-4 years in his prime. Its a good deal if both sides win and it looks like both sides win.

    • john

      Wait till the offseason. Lowry has remained healthy all season which goes against the rest of his career. While I’m enjoying this, I expect him to regress a little bit, which will lower his vakue a bit come offseason. I also don’t expect Casey to be coming back.

      • afrocarter

        It’ll be somewhat of a shame to see Casey go, IMO. I do agree that the likelihood of him returning is low, but witnessing how he’s been able to get the team to buy in to smash-mouth, Eastern Conference basketball has been beautiful to watch. I wouldn’t mind seeing how he could make this team better next year.

        • john

          I agree Casey’s done better since the trade, but when I see guys like Brad Stevens or Frank Vogel it makes me long for a top-tier coach. Casey is great at getting effort out of his players on defense, but he’s a below average play-caller, something that becomes important in the post season when the game becomes more half-court.

          • JayTeam

            Don’t disagree play-calling has been thought of as Casey’s greatest weakness, but is it still as bad as his reputation says, or has it improved as Nick Nurse has gotten acclimated with the team?

            • john

              Only reason I’d want to keep him is for continuity’s sake. But that only makes sense if this is the core we’re going to keep.

              • Mike

                Enter George Karl if Casey is gone. Denver connection with Masai, plus has a history of working with solid pg’s..however not sure if that is enough for Lowry to stay. BTW Casey is doing an awesome job in my opinion, everyone is playing hard and focused on D just like he promised.

      • whosnext

        Casey will definitely be back and you can take that to the bank. Everyone mentions Casey’s offensive coaching ability or lack thereof, however it is also known that he is a learning 3rd year head coach and is very talented. This is a defensive league and he has the Raps ranked 6th in defensive efficiency. The Raps are also ranked 14th in offensive effficiency ahead of Chicago, Indiana, Brooklyn, New York and equal to Atlanta and Golden State. You don’t let coaches with those types of ranking go.His players respect him as well the rest of the coaching staff. He has improved his play calling and has the Rap’s playing their best ball in a decade. We don’t have the super talent and he is getting it done. Masai would be a fool to send a message to the team or league, that he does not reward success. Look for Casey to be resigned as Masai has said he thought casey had ran a brilliant training camp and thinks he is also doing a great job. Masai would have to explain how a coach that does a “great job” was not resigned.
        Chemistry is also key and begins with the coach and since coach Casey was given the room (under Masai) to do things how he believes we now have great chemistry. Give Casey the same talent as Frank Vogel as I am sure he would do very well with Granger, Hibbard and George. Somebody mentioned Brad Stevens over Casey (whaaaat???). I believe the Celtics have lost nine in a row.

    • jamshid

      5 year 50 million is the least amount of money he will take.

  • Brett

    Well put. I agree with everything written here except for the idea that the Raptors can sign Lowry to a contract in the $7-$9 million dollar range. With how well he’s playing, the market will command that Lowry make an 8 figure salary for at least the next 5 years. The challenge for Ujiri is making sure that he doesn’t overpay Lowry to the point where it becomes challenging to retain the core of this team and to have cap space available for upgrades that can push the team into contention.

    • john

      He’s worth around $8M per year for 4 years, given his average production, but I wouldn’t be surprised if someone offers him $12M over 4 years, in which case I’d let him walk. He’s going to regress a bit next season, and by the end of his contract he’ll be 32 at which point he won’t be this productive anymore. His game is based off quickness and high-octane, things which regress after 30. There are a LOT of quality points in the league right now, so I wouldn’t panic if he walks.

      • Roarque

        John, I think you’re wrong on every point you make. Sorry man, but I do.
        – Who is going to offer him 12 over 4yrs? Isn’t that the point of the post?
        – 32 isn’t that old for a PG – think Parker at San Antonio or Steve Nash at phoenix
        – The Raps have been looking for how many years for the right PG?

        • PAYDAY

          – How many 32 year old starting PGs do you see in this league? If we’re going to give him starter’s money then he should start.
          – Parker is 31, not 32.
          – Nash is the exception rather than the norm. His game isn’t as reliant on quickness and changing speeds as much as Lowry.
          – Even Lowry has his own injury issues to worry about. Remember Calderon?

          • truth be told

            No one remembers Calderon anymore. It’s about the now, forget the future.

            We don’t know what others teams will do in the offseason or how they look at Lowry but we do know that Lowry will want to get paid. He is in a CONTRACT YEAR. He’s not taking discounts.

            You have Demar locked in and then signing Lowry to a longterm deal in the offseason and you can roll out that red carpet of mediocrity. Believe that. No cap room and your best 2 players are Demar and Lowry? Not a contender does that make.

            • john

              Bledsoe will demand attention first due to being younger and better. Where he lands will dictate how much Lowry gets and with whom. Having $20M per year tied up in DD and Kyle is a bit much IMO. And Amir is a FA next year so we need to save space for him as well. By resigning KL to a big contract we’re effectively forcing a decision between Amir and Jonas.

      • Tanks-a-lot

        $12m/year over 4 years

        I’m pretty sure that’s is what you meant to write.

        • john

          Oops, yeah that’s what I meant.

          • ckh26

            AH jOHN.. you just disagreed with yourself. You said KL is worth 8m per year for 4 years ..
            That’s 32M in aggregate.
            Then you just said you’d let him walk if another team offered 3M a year for 4 years.
            That’s 12M in aggregate.

            • john

              12m/yr, I didn’t phrase properly

  • j bean

    Take Lowry out of the lineup and you have an idea how important he is to this team. Probably the most valuable Raptor. If DD makes over $9,000,000. what is fair for KL?

    • Ian Reynolds

      I dunno if your point is Lowry is more important than Demar, so he should make more than Demar’s 9 million, but just because one guy has a terrible overpaid deal, doesn’t mean everyone else should get one too.

      • TheR3dMenace

        …terrible overpaid @ 9.5 for DeMar? You are crazy. His contract is going to look be an Amir Johnson level steal in a year. Its a bargain now for an All-Star level player. Open your eyes, man

        • Ian Reynolds

          He’s a league average player with inflated per game numbers because he plays some of the highest minutes in the league. His shooting efficiency is actually dropping due to the minutes hike and the increased number of shots he’s taking. He’s 9th on the team in TS% except aside from Rudy he’s using up significantly more possessions than everyone else. So he’s taking a ton of not great shots instead of someone else taking a better shot.

          Yes, his passing and defense have gotten a bit better. Only that incredibly rare 5th year improvement has pushed him into the average category so he’s now a decent player. This year is the first in his career he hasn’t been a below league average PER player. And PER is kind to people who don’t play D.

          His ORtg is 105, which is the same as last year, third lowest out of five years. His DRtg has slightly improved to 104. This is the first time in his career he’s not a clear minus player on the court compared to off.

          Decent players shouldn’t be making 9-10 a year. They should make 6-7. And he won’t look like a steal because no one improves from below average for 4 years, to average in year 5, to a 10 million dollar a year steal in year 6. It doesn’t happen.

          LOOK, I actually have been much happier with him this year as opposed to previous years. Since the Rudy trade he’s been better, too, minus the shooting the ball part, his greatest quality.

          But my eyes are open. All those numbers tell you what he’s done on the court. And it’s nothing worth 10 million dollars. 4 years at 30? Fine. 4 years at 40? No thanks.

          • whosnext

            I understand the statistical numbers which are very important but leave out many important intangibles. Demar is easily a steal with what others are paid for in the league for doing less. His presence on the floor is such that defenses shift to contain him. His leadership is shining through coupled with his work ethic. The man does not miss games. He plays above the rim. The energy of the team picks up when he is on the floor.
            Which small forward would you have instead of Demar at just under 10 million a season? Wiggins ?(lol )
            Paul Pierce @15.333 million
            Josh smith@13.5 million
            Hedo Turkoglu@12 million
            Batum@ 11.3 million
            Richard Jefferson@11.05 million
            Galinari@11 million
            Gerald Wallace@ 11million
            Shawn Marion@ 9.3
            Which SG would you have?
            Eric Gordon@13.2
            Ben Gordon@13.2
            Stuckey @8.5
            Now ask which playeron this list has put in 82 games a season. If you look at the amount paid for games played Demar is easily the best bang for your dollar!!

            • Ian Reynolds

              This sounds more hostile than it really is, but:

              So just because a bunch of guys have bad contracts that means it’s okay for us to have bad contracts? And what’s “intangible” about an average player never getting injured?
              If you look at the amount of games played, Josh McRoberts is a steal for 2 million a year as a starter!!!! worth 4 times the bang!!!!!

              Because someone was dumb enough to pay Richard Jefferson that much money doesn’t mean that Demar is paid fine. And way to cherry pick only the bad deals.

              How come you’re not including Steph Curry’s 9.8M?
              Ty Lawson’s 10.7m?
              Mike Conley’s 8m?
              George Hill’s 8m?
              Wes Matthews 6.8m?
              Ryan Anderson’s 8.3m?
              Jrue Holiday’s 9m?
              Paul Millsap’s 9.5m?
              Noah’s 11m?
              Jeff Teague’s 8m?
              Arron Afflalo’s 7m?
              Iguodala’s 11m?
              John Walls’ 7m?
              Dragic’s 7m?
              Ginobili hovered around 9 his whole career.
              JJ Redick’s 6?

              Is it because some of them don’t play his position? Because they’re all better contracts than Demar, and that’s only a quick scan around those guys paying the same general area.

              And yes I’d rather have Batum at 11 million, because he’s a better rebounder, better playmaker, a WAY better defender, can hit an above average mark from 3, and can guard more positions.

              Just because someone was dumb enough to sign Josh Smith to a max deal doesn’t mean Demar isn’t overpaid. I’d rather have Demar for 9 than Josh Smith for 13. You’re right about that. But that’s like saying cutting your finger off is better than cutting your hand off.

              I would take every single one of those deals I listed over Demar’s, and that’s because those guys have at least one great skill and better stats.

              Like I’ve mentioned before, I really do like him, and he works his ass off. I just think that he’s paid too much money. Which is what this started out being about. It’s harder to build a championship team when guys like that are paid too much, which is why I see him eventually being traded. Not that I WANT him to be, but I can see Masai doing that.

              • whosnext

                The list I compiled are players for his position. Why coimpare apples to oranges. Derozan was given his contract based on other swings. Most of the players you listed are on rookie contracts or extensions.
                Ginobli signed his contract years ago …might as well compare him to Jordan’s 2million with Chicago.
                Yes, Josh McRoberts is a steal but he is the exception and ask any coach how important it is that the top scorer of your team does not get injured and from a GM’s perspective It is basic math.
                Demar 9,500,000/82=115,853 per game.
                Measure that against Batum FY2012-13(NB is a better player as I agree on that point) but would be 11,295,250/73 =154,729 per game .
                That means Demar is making 33% less per game than Batum. Let’s try Iggy who has played 27 out of 39 games this year. If he does not get injured for the remainder of the year he is making this year alone would be paid 157,142 per game. That is 26% more than Demar and higher if he(IGGY) gets injured this year.
                Steph Curry (lol)…he has missed 71 of 285 games. An average of 61.5 games played per year. 9.8mil/61.5= 159,349 per game 28% more than Demar.
                JJreddick ??? does he even play? He has missed 82 games in the last 4 seasons and has already missed 21 games this year. What would you pay him? He will still make 100,000 per game this year which projects higher if he misses any more games.
                So to think that Demar’s 82 game playing average does not matter is assinign. Injuries matter and Demar is worth 9.5Mil

                • Ian Reynolds

                  Actually none of the players are on rookie contracts, and almost all are on the same kind of second contract extension that Demar is on. So they’re in the exact situation. Did you even look at any of them before saying that?

                  And Ginobili signing his contract years ago was the point of me saying he hovered around 9-10 million. Because when he was on top of his game he was in that area. And he was WAY better.

                  And as i said, I included guys at different positions to show you what good contracts are. Just because a guy is at the least important position in the league doesn’t mean it’s okay to pay him a crappy deal.

                  And again, I ask you, who CARES how much Demar makes per game compared to similar players?? Per game numbers don’t mean anything against the cap. It’s per season that’s important. That’s why no one says Derozan’s been signed to a 4-year extension for 115 thousand per game.

                  No one looks at Batum and says boy, I wish we could pay Derozan instead. What’s the point of admitting that you think he’s a better player, and then saying Demar is cheaper? OF COURSE HE SHOULD BE CHEAPER HES NOT AS GOOD. It means nothing that Demar is 33 percent cheaper than Batum per game, because he’s not as good as him. So what’s the point of saying “well at least Demar is cheaper”? That’s like saying hey, my Kia Rio is no Porsche, but that’s okay because it only costs 80 percent as much.

                  And we’re paying 9-10 million a year for a guy who took 5 years to have his first barely-above 15 PER, which as you know is the league average. And as I said, PER looks kindly on him because it ignores D, which he’s not good at.

    • TheR3dMenace

      Him and his agent will initially for at least 12. Masai will counter with something around 9. I’d wager he’ll end up getting somewhere between 10-11/year

      • ckh26

        Which says he is better than one time all – star Jrue Holiday.. who makes 9.1. Your overbidding at that rate.

        • j bean

          D Will makes around $18,000,000. He’s worth twice Lowry?

          • ckh26

            Thats for the the Brooklyns Nets to answer..

  • P.D.

    Because I wanna see the Raptors shift down from 4th to 3rd smoother than my 1999 Civic. lol

  • Roarque

    Another issue:
    What if Kyle HAS offered to sign with the Raps but
    only if the Raps sign a new head coach that he likes or
    only if they re-sign Dwane Casey.
    Kyle is in a position NOW to make those kind of demands privately – in free agency, he couldn’t do that

    • cocojanda

      Pffft… Demands!?!? He’s been good for a little over a month. Why’s everyone acting like he’s a superstar?

  • Ppapi

    Good piece,
    However, DeRozan is the leader, and Lowry the sidekick, get it straight already. Lowry gets injured too often and has performed above average for a month and a half, don’t get too excited. Should be extended, but is the second, soon maybe 3rd or 4th best player on this team.

    • afrocarter

      I disagree; I think the Raptors are in a position now where there are several leaders on the team. DeRozan & Lowry are both very vocal leaders, while Amir quietly leads by example both on and off the floor. To proclaim that there needs to be a single alpha dog would simply be incorrect.

    • whosnext

      Lowry has been playing well since training camp. He has been good all season. His hand injury hurt him a little in the beginning but he has no issues there anymore. I think his conditioning in the off season is the reason he is playing well. He will play well until the end because winning feels good and allows players to play loose but focused.

    • cocojanda

      Wisest thing written throughout this Entire discussion!!!

  • rapierraptor

    I don’t know why no one ever brings up Adrian Wojnarowski’s piece (Yahoo sports) from early December (thick of the NYK-TOR trade rumblings) where he claimed: “Lowry has wanted a trade for most of the season and the Raptors became
    more motivated to move him after acquiring point guard Greiveis Vasquez
    in a deal with the Sacramento Kings.” If he truly was demanding a trade I’d be somewhat weary of banking on him to resign. Nevertheless, he’s undoubtedly been a top-10 PG in the league this season (4th overall true WARP rating) and he has shown a propensity for making big plays in crucial moments since the Gay trade. I hope he realizes that he has a great thing going in Toronto and saddles up for the long run. Here is the Wojnarowski link: http://sports.yahoo.com/news/knicks-pursuing-trade-for-kyle-lowry-204933654.html

    • Ian Reynolds

      That Woj piece rehashed my Lowry-related fears when I read it. I don’t really want to give Lowry a 4 year deal, because he’s played his way out of every team he’s been on and has notorious attitude difficulties and seems to get banged up.

      If we get the post-trade Lowry, then great, but there’s no way to know, and based on his career so far, I’d lean more towards the first 8 or so years than the last 6 weeks, when wondering what kind of player we’re going to get. My worry is that he doesn’t realize he’s got this great thing and it blows up.

      Off the top of my head I’d probably say he’s an average at best starting point guard.
      If we get him for say, 3/21, then that’s fine, but I gotta believe 3/30 is the minimum it would take to bring him back, and I feel like that’s too much money for a guy who’s PROBABLY played more years in the league than he has left. I dunno.

      • Shadow Of Christ

        Woj and Stine also said that Aldridge wanted out this past summer… so much for that thought process. Unless a player comes out and says so, or if he seems less engaged in games, then yes, you trade him. This hasn’t been the case with Lowry this season.

      • cocojanda

        100% Agree

  • Ion66

    Wondering if Kyle isn’t tired of being moved around the league? Wondering if, as another poster pointed out, Kyle was offended by managements plan to trade him? What if Kyle isn’t playing at a high level to maximize his trade value. What if he’s playing at a high level to maximize his staying put value? I wish we were aware of some of the in private talks and meetings and didn’t have to randomly speculate on a website! We need one of those betting charts for this stuff…like the one in the movie, Cabin in the woods. “Deal done the day of free agency….plus zombies.”

  • john

    Bledsoe will obviously be target #1 for teams with Lowry at #2. I think a huge part of the equation is where Bledsoe ends up.

    • WhiteVegas

      You’d have to think Phoenix will match whatever offer Bledsoe gets since he will be a RFA. They didn’t do that trade just to let him walk and they’ve got lots of cap space. Isaiah Thomas is another guy I could see teams target but Sacramento is likely to match. Lowry is by a large margin the premier UFA PG available this offseason and I’m sure LAL will make an offer.

  • Paul Stevens

    So, by your count, Boston, Brooklyn, Chicago, Cleveland, Denver, Golden State, LA Clippers, Minnesota, New Orleans, Oklahoma City, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Portland, San Antonio, Utah and Washington have better point guards right now (where does that leave Lowry and the MVP ladder) and Dallas, Atlanta, Charlotte, Memphis and Indiana don’t need an upgrade (their PG is as good as Lowry). That means 21 teams with PG’s as good or better than Lowry. Then what’s all this noise about Lowry and the All-star-game? I thought only the better players got into the All-Star game, not schmucks tied for 17th.

    • WhiteVegas

      He was talking about it while taking the CBA into account. You can’t just swap players willy nilly, contracts and salaries matter. So he’s not saying any of those PG’s are better than Lowry, just that in reality those teams aren’t likely to try and sign Lowry.

  • TheSpiceTyrant

    Gonna disagree, primarily because you can’t factor in injuries and there’s a sucker GM born every minute. Chicago would have been a good fit for Lowry if the price was right. If MU could get a guaranteed high pick this year, it makes sense to have a first round exit but add some youth at the PG.

    Also I love his game but I just can’t see KL play this (awesome) bulldog ball without the risk of injury.

  • mike, prague

    Think the Raptors can get a world record for longest garbage time? … I see about 40 minutes of it coming tonight. Acy time! … without the Ace

    • mike, prague

      wrong window 😀

  • Bendit

    I think you discount the Knicks to blow away Lowry with an offer that Masai would be loathe to match of course. Now NY is already into the luxury tax, as you noted. but when has sanity ever been a strong suit with Dolan? Couldn’t Lowry force MU’s hand into a sign & trade with NY to circumvent the cap issue (unless I am missing new rules with the current cba)? Masai could of course extract a nice ransom but we shall have to wait on that.

  • Mike

    Playing time won’t matter, money will. Who ever has the fattest offer Lowry will go to. Raptors will probably have have to offer around 10 mill+ a year to keep him.

  • ckh26

    FMV for Kyle is between 8 and 9M per year.. .He is in the Jrue Holiday / Mike Connley class of player.. Dallas overpaid on Monta Ellis.and Ty Lawson money would be overpaying as well..Kyles making 6 this year.. a 35% raise on a 4 year deal is a pretty good reward for a job well done.

    2013 PGs NBA Salary Grid

    Top Tier $$$- Some are worth it some are not
    Joe Johnson $21,466,718
    Dwyane Wade $18,673,000
    Deron Williams$18,466,130
    Derrick Rose $17,632,688
    Russell Westbrook $14,693,906
    Tony Parker $12,500,000
    Rajon Rondo $11,954,545

    Mid Tier – Kyle fits here…

    Monta Ellis $11,000,000
    Ty Lawson $10,786,517
    Steve Nash $9,300,500 – Just a bad deal here…
    Jrue Holiday $9,213,484
    Jameer Nelson $8,600,000
    Rodney Stuckey $8,500,000
    Jeremy Lin $8,374,646
    Mike Conley Jr$8,000,001
    George Hill $8,000,000
    Goran Dragic $7,500,000
    Kyrie Irving $5,607,240 – Expect him to sign for Top Tier $$$$

    Lower Tier…
    Jason Terry $5,225,000
    Louis Williams $5,225,000
    Ramon Sessions $5,000,000
    Andre Miller $5,000,000
    Jose Juan Barea $4,687,000
    Luke Ridnour $4,320,000
    Kirk Hinrich $4,059,000
    Steve Blake $4,000,000
    Raymond Felton $3,637,073
    Aaron Brooks $3,396,250
    Damian Lillard $3,202,920 – Expect him to sign for Top Tier $$$
    Jerryd Bayless $3,135,000

    • rapierraptor

      Great post.

    • Weed

      Wow, so many garbage contracts. Stuckey, Williams, Nelson…

      But yeah, I’d say Conley, dragic, holiday, and Lawson are good market comparisons. Somewhere in the 7-10 mil range, depending on how kyleplays the rest of the season, and especially the Postseason, sounds about right.

    • Shadow Of Christ

      That sound about right… If Lowry makes it to the ASG, I’d offer $10-11 per season, otherwise $8-9 million per season is more than fair

    • cocojanda

      Joe Johnson and Dwayne Wade are shooting guards.

  • The only way to trade this guy without having a big time fan relation problem is to lose ten in a row…basically go on a tank mode…. So the GM is going to have to suck it up and enjoy the season and get nothing for Lowry…or sign him now and maybe save a few bucks.
    With all the injured point guards out there and the fact that you basically need two starting quality point guards to make a good team, Lowry will become very expensive after the season.

  • Brian L

    Every time it takes a ‘contract year’ to get the best out of a player it irks me a bit. I know NBA players are professionals who are trying to earn up to their max potential with all the talent and hard work they put into their lives, but it’s hard to figure out what happens after we pay the guy, will we see this sustained performance from him in the future? History suggests he has tendency to pout if it doesn’t go his way, he’s had issues with the last 2 teams he’s been.

    I’m up for redemption projects and all (and sometimes they work a la Monta Ellis, props to Dallas for getting him right) but I would be slightly hesitant to hail him as the PG of the future so quickly. Just 2 cents, I hope my intuition is wrong and that he can sustain this going forward.

    • whosnext

      Kyle Lowry’s ego is bigger than his pay check he wants to be an elite guard. Its his DNA. If this was not a contract year he still would be putting up career numbers. If you have followed Kyle since high school to the pros people would know this. He is only going to get better (barring injury,)

  • Shadow Of Christ

    The conundrum that is Kyle Lowry… No one ever gives him a fair shake, he reportedly had “attitude” problems, was suppose to be a problematic teammate, he’s playing well in a contract year, etc…

    The reality is though is that Lowry is finally playing 100% healthy, doesn’t need to look over his shoulder to see who is gonna take his starting job (the Jose Calderon syndrome), is playing like an All Star and most importantly, he’s now in his prime! So this really isn’t a conundrum so much as it’s a turning of a corner for Kyle Lowry.

    The last time the Raptors were this successful, we had another undersized PG by the name of TJ Ford. Lowry is much better, stronger and smarter than Ford was. It’s that simple.

    All that being said, fair market value for Lowry would be a 4 year, $36 million deal ($8-9 million per year) or a 4 year, $40-44 million deal ($10-11 million per year) if he’s an all star. That’s more than reasonable. The challenge will be to put better pieces around Lowry and DeRozan in order to improve from this season.

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