So Kyle Lowry could be headed to the Heat.  I personally don’t buy it just because of the amount of contract restructuring that would need to happen in Miami for the big three to get their money, Lowry to get his, and the Heat having enough left over to sign something better than Rashard Lewis.  However, stranger things have happened and the Raptors are one of those teams that has a habit of losing good players without netting anything in return.

A Kyle Lowry exit is a horrifying prospect because any version of a near-term outlook for a fan involves Lowry, the unquestionable leader of last season, being front-and-center.  Take him out of the equation without getting a return and things get to the point where you’d seriously question what the point of having a good season was, other than reminding everyone that there is a basketball team in town.  Such an exit would also be quite a disaster for Masai Ujiri, whose asset-collection measures would suffer a reverse worse than Bryan Colangelo losing Chris Bosh for a TPE his own pick being returned.   The psychological impact on the team, and the message it would send to budding players like DeMar DeRozan would also have to be sorted out.  From an image portrayal perspective, it would be the exact opposite of what Tim Leiweke is trying to project Toronto as, given his signings with the Leafs and TFC.

Of course, it’s understandable why the Heat are an attractive proposition for Lowry, who would get a legitimate shot at a title with the 4-time NBA finalists, something veterans like Ray Allen, Shane Battier, and Rashard Lewis have already done.  The difference with Lowry would be that he’s only 28 and hasn’t yet taken a shot at a title on his own, fell short, and then went seeking the peripheral role on an already-stacked side.  He would, you could argue, be part of the new “big three” with Chris Bosh or Dwayne Wade seeing the door, instead of a role player.  In any scenario, it’s bad news for the Raptors who would not only be left with a emotional and leadership void, but also would be a point-guard short.

I have to imagine that something as significant as this has to be known and sorted out well before the draft because it changes the approach towards draft night entirely.  It takes the Raptors from a team seeking specific, small improvements to one that is trying to find a starting point guard, and the worst part is that it would be in plain sight of everyone, reducing Ujiri’s bargaining position.  There is the chance that the Raptors might get something in a sign-and-trade deal (the two franchises have dealt in the past multiple times), something resembling Norris Cole which is asymptotic.  Note that Miami literally has nothing to give back in a S&T.

To be clear, this wouldn’t be as terrible as hitting a reset button and going to back to rebuilding (after the best draft in years), it would simply mean that the pressure on the existing core to improve and produce would be significant.  Do remember that when the Raptors lost Tracy McGrady to Orlando, they followed it up with an even more successful season and Raptors fans would have to hope that history would repeat itself (and also hope that DeMar DeRozan comes close to what Vince Carter was in his heyday, a rather long shot).  It would change the priorities in the draft as well, lending credence to the Tyler Ennis-talk, or even Elfrid Payton, who Draft Express has already updated as the Raptors selecting.

Another view you could take is that Kyle Lowry served his purpose in Toronto.  He rejuvenated Toronto basketball for one season in his contract year, got the fans back, and it’s now time for the Raptors to take it from there.   Don’t let the sour grapes drenched all over this view diminish its possibility.  Lowry, who is prone to weight issues, did only have one great year where he took many a defense by surprise.  You could easily argue that his performances aren’t repeatable against an expectant rather than surprised defense, so it’s best the Raptors part ways (though losing him for nothing still stings).   To console yourself you could also see it as the contention windows of DeRozan, Ross and Valanciunas (24, 23, and 22) being rather different than that of Lowry (28), though it’s quite realistic to think the four being partners for the next two years as Lowry turns 30.  Oh well.

Naturally, I’m going to back to thinking what Lowry would have fetched at his peak last season, and the best estimate I can make is what the Knicks were offering.  If the Raptors had flipped him for Imam Shumpert and a Knicks’ future pick (Knicks don’t have a pick this year and Tim Hardway Jr. was never quite on the table), it would mean the Raptors roster wouldn’t look drastically different if Lowry does end up leaving.  They’d be, more or less, in the same position they are now only with Shumpert on the roster.  I’m not sure how much better of a position that is.

I have my hopes that he stays, repeats his performances and on the strength of an improving core, the Raptors take a leap forward.  It is a distinct possibility that Lowry goes to the Heat (again, very difficult due to contract restructuring), Lakers or any other big market team in hopes of chasing a title.  What’s working in favor of the Raptors is that unlike guys like Ray Allen, Rashard Lewis, Vince Carter, or Paul Pierce, who could be signed for cheap on account of their ring-chasing priority, Kyle Lowry would be looking for a big contract first, and a title-chase second, if for no other reason than that he’s got more time than them.  That puts the Raptors in a pole position, making this in my opinion, a question of whether Masai Ujiri wants to pay the rate based on a contract year, thus trumping the advances of sides that consider themselves title-chasers.

  • Andrew

    It wouldn’t be the worst thing if he did leave, granted we could find an adequate replacement. His offensive style of play (flinging his body into defenders and taking a physical pounding) should result in more assists, but he’s not a great passer. With Rondo working his way back form injury and Rose injured, he finally had an exemplary year…after 7 years of mediocrity. I love the guy, but if his agent tries to hold Masai over a cliff in negotiations, we all know who’s winning that battle.

  • dunkmycat7

    Just a second -there is absolutely NOTHING good about KL leaving, it’s the biggest DISASTER possible after the season we just had. That’s a BC like EPIC mistake of judgement.
    And as much as I LOVE Masai, if KL leaves (on top of almost trading him to NY and getting NOTHING for DJA) – we should run him out of town on a rail.

    • DC

      “That’s a BC like EPIC mistake of judgement.”
      Please tell us what exactly was the mistake, and what Masai should have done instead.

      • dunkmycat7

        DC;
        Pardon -Losing Kyle – WOULD be a BC like Epic mistake.
        I have been pounding the table to re-sign KL since before the all star break .Now MU has let everyone else in the NBA in on the(potential) bidding war. Could have had him for 4 yrs -maybe 36 mil – THEN .Now he’s gonna cost 12 mil per -and that’s if some lunatic team doesn’t do something crazy and offer him 15 mil. At that point what do you do ? totally overpay and REALLY limit their options ? Or not, and lose your best player and IMO the key to any future Raptor success ?
        Should have PULLED THE FREAKING TRIGGER already.
        IMO MU has already pooched this. If he signs him- all is well .If not -Bye.

        • asifyouknow

          How would you know he would of taken that deal? I bet his agent would of not let him sign until he tested the waters. Specially when it was clear he was having a monster season…

        • 2damkule

          i don’t think you know how the CBA – and extensions in particular – actually work.

          • dunkmycat7

            Thank you all for killing me softly with all this CBA extension $ stuff, i checked this out a bit and I think your numbers are pretty much right and the rest of you might be right about his agent NOT letting him sign then so as to test F/A….but consider what could they have done BEFORE he became the star he morphed into after they traded RG ?Even taking into account they could only offer him 3 or 4 @ $7.5 mil per(although as i said above i DID think it would more take than that and as you have pointed out that was not possible).That was the moment of opportunity. At that time would a bird in the hand been tempting for a player with KL’s previous rep ?They didn’t even try because they weren’t sure what they had, they were ready to trade him to NY, and THAT in itself was a mistake of judgement by the guy we are paying to KNOW this stuff. Then add the” got nothing for DJA” thing….btw-did we EVER know why they let him go after the season he had in Indy and the one he went on to in Chi ?
            IF KL leaves it IS a disaster for this team. and despite the very valid limitations you have pointed out of re-signing him LY this would still be all on MU. I just hope there is a nod and a wink deal in place and we will all breathe a huge sigh of relief on Jul 1.
            Potentially the Biggest off season in Raps history and along with 2015 when some big $$ come off the books this is what sets the tone for this team for years to come – and KL is the key piece.
            MU – i hope you got all those clubs in your bag.

        • webfeat

          Lowry wouldn’t have signed an extension.

          “Toronto has no cap space, and thus is not able to offer a
          renegotiation/extension combination. Even if it was (and we pretended it
          was not yet March 1st), the new rules necessitate the extension would
          be too small to be suitable. An extension without a renegotiation would
          have to start at a mere $6,675,750 with 7.5% raises for a maximum of
          three additional years (a total of $21,529,294) – an extension with a
          10% renegotiation (thereby boosting Lowry’s $6.21 million contract to
          $6,821,000 this season) would not be much bigger, limited to $7,343,325
          with the same 7.5% raises for the same three additional years, a total
          of $23,682,223. Lowry, worthy of more than these figures, is thus not an
          extension candidate.”

          http://www.thescore.com/news/506236

        • GoingBig

          Signing before the deadline – Only could have him signed for 3 years rather than four
          And I think there is a cap on the amount of money he could get in a re-sign situation – maybe a $1MM increase from his old contract

    • asifyouknow

      If he would of traded him while the team was winning and the town was in love with the Raptors he would of had to leave town course he would of not bee safe even going to the corner store….lol

      • dunkmycat7

        …and yet he was ready to let KL go to NY for a bag of basketballs….Lucky for us James Dolan is SO stupid he even makes a bad trade when he doesn’t make the trade.
        Granted this was Before they started winning – but still this wasn’t MU being smart – he just ran into someone dumber than he was who was so scared of making ANOTHER bad trade that he lost his shit and could not pull the trigger. Make no mistake -The TANK WAS ON….Rudy, KL and who knows what else would have happened as you said in your post above. Even MU has said he didn’t see this coming and anyone out there who says they did go is just flat out lying.
        So now here we are. WHY would this be any different than BC totally pooching the CB4 situation ?

        • asifyouknow

          I agree with the comment on Dolan, he let his ego dictate what was good for his team….MU screwed him on the Melo deal and he thought he was being screwed again…lol

          • 2damkule

            i think it was more the bargs deal that did it.

        • DC

          So you’re saying Masai should have traded Lowry one way or another – regardless of what happens now?

          • DC

            given that the CBA wouldn’t allow an extension at fair market value, as others have explained, i.e.

    • 2damkule

      i think you need to qualify the ‘if KL leaves’ aspect – if he leaves because MU didn’t offer a contract sufficient enough to warrant it being re-signed, then it’s a fail. if MU offers him the best deal on the market, and he chooses to sign elsewhere for less, then how is that a fail? this isn’t an auction, KL is an UFA, he can do as he pleases. if he wants to sign for the MLE with a title contender, then there’s nothing MU can do about; the work to keep him has already been done, it’s simply going to come down to whether he (KL) will have other offers he finds more appealing.

      • Nilanka15

        I’m assuming the “fail” applies to not trading an upcoming UFA, and eventually losing him for nothing.

        • sleepz

          Thats exactly what it would mean

  • Brian Gerstein

    Lowry had a career year, one that statistically speaking is impossible to repeat. He is also susceptible to injuries given his style of play, and even though he is 28, his body is older than that. Having said that, he was clearly our leader last year and set the example for the rest of the team in terms of sacrificing his body for taking charges and our chemistry so hailed was IMO due to Lowry’s attitude change once Masai challenged him.

    He will be a productive player barring major injuries for the next 2-3 years as long as he is capable of maintaining his attitude and not reverting back to his play of two years ago. Do I want him back? Absolutely, as it will allow Masai to do some tinkering with the roster rather than something far more substantial.

    Is it the end of the world? No, mainly due to my faith in Masai, but it is hard to imagine our record without Lowry next year to approach this years, and we are looking at a 6-7 seed likely.

    • sleepz

      Your faith in Masai is strengthened by his inability to keep the team’s best players or get a return on them?

      • Brian Gerstein

        Lowry was set up to be moved to the Knicks, which Dolan vetoed, and was done prior to the team doing a 180 and having a successful season, so Masai certainly did exactly what you said i.e. get a return on them. Masai left it up to the players, once they started winning, to determine their fate prior to the trade deadline. Win and be a solid playoff seed, and the roster will remain intact, lose and drop out, and a rebuild, or at least a revamping of the roster would take place. The players collectively decided to win, and did it extremely well, rewarding the fanbase with a record that far exceeded even the most optimistic Raptors fan. Granted, this was done in the Eastern conference with a bunch of tanking teams, but still it was impressive.

        As far as keeping the team’s best players, no decision has been made yet, and won’t be until July 1st, so how can you make a blanket statement like keeping your team’s best players at this point. Lowry is an unrestricted free agent, so he is holding all the cards right now, but Masai did everything possible to make it enticing for Lowry to stay as the leader on a team that gets along extremely well, not an easy accomplishment in the NBA. Lowry said it was his most enjoyable year as a player ever, so Masai did his job, and has the ability to reward Lowry financially as well.

        • asifyouknow

          Just a big time comment…Agree and good job…

        • sleepz

          I made the ‘blanket’ statement under the presumption that ‘is it the end of the world’ if he leaves.
          I never said he was going to leave. i responded to the potential of this happening…..that you identified in your original post.

      • Abused Raptors Fan

        Not sure how you’d attribute those characteristics to Masai based upon his time in Denver/Toronto, unless you’re judging the Melo trade after the fact. And as far as his tenure in Toronto is concerned, I wouldn’t call PrimoPasta and Gay our best players, nor would I say that he got a poor return for either, particularly considering their perceived value and contracts at the time they were traded. This is not to say that we should blindly trust in our GM, or anyone for that matter, but nor should we do the opposite.

    • 2damkule

      i’m curious how you know / why you feel that lowry’s season is ‘statistically speaking…impossible to repeat.’? or are you saying that it’s impossible that he’ll have the EXACT same statistics again in the future, which i would agree is highly impropbable, but is in no way impossible.

      or why you feel his ‘body is older than that’ (28). what are you basing those assertions/assumptions on, the fact he’s had injuries in the past? couldn’t you argue that missing time due to injuries actually prevents the miles from adding up on the odometer?

      can you use your powers of clairvoyance and let us know which professional athletes are not ‘susceptible to injuries?’

  • Amigo

    “NO MANS LAND, I TOLD YOU SO”

    I m back writing again after choosing a low profile during the great run the team and fans had this year (first round exit).
    How good it feels know ?
    How happy are you now that the team is in the mud again ?
    And remember me next year every time Wiggins/Embiid and those top rookies will make the fortune of 76,Celtics,Cavs for years to come.
    I didn’t buy any fake dream from our salesman MU, who decided to sell you an expiring box of eggs instead of grooming an healthy chicken for our tomorrow.
    Wake up you all, the NO MANS LAND is in right now in front of you

    • Balls of Steel

      Amigo hops off the bandwagon… SMH.

    • ckh26

      Get the chicken suits out. The sky is falling. The sky is falling.
      This is just nonsense

    • Nilanka15

      Newsflash: Lowry hasn’t made a decision yet.

    • thegloveinrapsuniform

      i dont usually write stuff like this but…..

      GTFO of here.

    • asifyouknow

      wow…Are you one of the tankers member?
      Look the whole trade was about running Gay out of town, that was the whole purpose, unfortunately for the “tankers fan club” they got some good players back and Casey found out that he had a hell of a bench.
      That was not MU fault..lol he did not do that on purpose…lol he was not selling you old eggs…lmao
      You are at trip amigo, most entertaining post today.
      But you are wrong..

      • 2damkule

        he doesn’t speak for us. mainly because he’s an idiot.

  • DanH

    “They’d be, more or less, in the same position they are now only with Shumpert on the roster. I’m not sure how much better of a position that is.”

    Well, that’s not true. You think trading Lowry would have been the only move made? It would have been the first of many dominoes. I would not have been surprised if DD was moved for picks, Amir was moved for a pick, and expirings were moved for bad salary in exchange for picks. It would be a drastically different outlook right now if Lowry got traded.

    • Amigo

      Plus the big point the writer is hiding is you would have tanked to get a Top 5 pick ! WTF are we talking about, rejuvenated ? BS. Remember the President words when he was presented ” Getting worst to get better in the future”.

    • ckh26

      Perhaps,but we will never know because you can’t change the past. This is the beauty of 20/20 hindsight. WHose to say if those dominoes did fall we would not be holding a bag of shit ?

      • Abused Raptors Fan

        I believe that “holding a bag of shit” after the proverbial dominoes fell would have been the entire point… Tanking is, after all, an art of poor roster construction and asset accumulation – both in terms of young prospects and picks, but also, in this case, of losses (i.e. ping pong balls).

        However, the successful application of this strategy requires enough valuable assets to procure additional lottery picks to bolster those “earned” through several seasons of lottery-bound (read: unwatchable) basketball. Most likely, it was the Raptors’ relative lack of first round draft pick worthy assets that ultimately prevented the “Fall”. Honestly, other than DeRozan, I doubt any of our other players would have garnered any interest from teams who were willing to trade potential lottery picks. Even then, I’m not 100% convinced he’d bring in anything other than a top-10 protected pick.

        • ckh26

          I think what DanH is arguing is that the full teardown would have been on if the Knicks deal with Lowry went ahead. We would have Shumpert and potentially a 1st pick in 2018 ? If Amir and DD were moved for picks they would be a higher first for DD and a low first plus a bad contract for Amir.

          My view is that those assets gained from moving Lowry + DD + Amir might be a “bag of shit”. They might be great too. I do know that predicting future events with no semblance of control is a risky business.

          DanH may have another point of view.

          Our situation going forward in the present is not so bad. A decent core, not great, but decent. A first and two seconds in a deep draft this year plus the MLE to sign a need position. In 2015 we have another 1st and we will have about 12-13M in cap space to add a more significant player.

          The trading of all those players for the promise of what might be via draft choices does not look as good as what is in place today and we get to see another 3 to 4 years of dreck before its good again with no guarantee we are any further ahead than we are today.

    • http://www.gamervets.com/ M1GO

      We would also have the displeasure of paying $4.5 mil per year to have Raymond Felton on our roster.

      Raymond Felton!

      • DanH

        Does that matter if you are rebuilding? Nope. Buy him out, move on.

  • OakTree

    I suppose Lowry could leave to chase a title, but the only contenders next year look like the Spurs, Heat, Clippers, Thunder and Pacers.

    Of those teams, Lowry only starts on the Heat and Pacers, which is the only role for Lowry at this point in his career.

    I don’t think the Heat’s big 3 would be willing to take additional pay cuts to make it happen. Sure, they did it before, but it was really only a few million they left on the table. This time they can all make much more money.

    The only way I see it happening is if the Heat can somehow unload Wade and not take salary back. In other words, if Wade opts out and walks. I just don’t see it happening. Though, I suppose there could be some salary cap magic tricks only Pat Riley knows.

    The Pacers are in disarray at the moment, though I think that a Hill
    / Lowry back court could be pretty good (seeing how Lowry / Vasquez worked well this year), and it would allow the Pacers
    to let Lance walk if they decided that was the direction they wanted to go.

    I think the Pacers are the team more likely to make a
    run at Lowry. From a basketball perspective it would be a good fit, because Lowry brings a lot of the same things that Lance does, but with less crazy.

  • Balls of Steel

    Kyle Lowry leaving is not the end of the world. That’s what unrestricted free agents can do. The comparisons w/ Bosh, Carter, et al are not accurate. They’re totally different scenarios. Regardless, if MU can get an Elfrid Payton out of this whole thing, I’m still a happy camper. Sad to lose Lowry but that’s business.

    • sleepz

      Its not the end of the world, but it would be a fail for Masai Ujiri.

      You took the risk of trying to resign him in the off-season where he can leave without compensation for your team……..if you take that gamble and he leaves for nothing then you read the situation wrong and the aftermath is on you as the GM.

      i don’t think that’s what is going to happen when all is said and done, but if this done happens, its on the GM

      • 2damkule

        yeah, MU should have like, totally forced him to sign a super team-friendly extension. because that’s how it works.

        • sleepz

          Or, you could have moved him during the season when the opportunity presented itself.
          That was an option as well.

      • Milesboyer

        Wait a second, isn’t that what GM’s do all the time – take risks? They don’t always work out but being safe and conservative gets you nowhere. Keeping Lowry instead of trading him for Shumperdink was not a big gamble. It’s not like the Carmelo or Kevin Love situation where teams were offering decent packages.

        • DC

          Exactly!

    • webfeat

      I also think this is why Ujiri wanted GV in the deal for Gay. GV could be a decent starting point guard in place of Lowry. If Nando sticks around, he might be a sericable backup. The youngsters like JV and TRoss will likely get more touches and will continue to develop. DD will still get a chance to work on his game. However, I don’t see the raps making a deep run at the playoffs without Kyle.

      2015~16 will be a big year with several contracts coming off the books (Hayes, Amir, Fields, Tyler for about $25M) that Ujiri will be able to truly shape the team.

      Losing players to free agency is a part of being in the NBA. It’s a calculated risk by not trading a guy before they’re gone and even if he leaves, I’d still say Ujiri made the right move by keeping him. I’ll always remember the 2013~14 season as one of my happiest memories connected to the Raptors.

  • ckh26

    All this from a rumour out of ESPN :-).
    Agree that Kyle going hurts but its not the end of the world. This situation I am sure has a policy directive drawn up for it as early as last year. Its not like a professional organization doesn’t have a succession plan in place.

    The cons:
    We lose a bona fide top 10 PG. Short term big ouch.
    We lose a leader on the floor. Short term ouch.
    We will have to explain “why” to Demar and the others, that this is short term pain and its really going to be fixed in one years time, and Demar your only 24.

    The pros:
    We gain serious cap space this year as well as next year. If we extend Amir @ 6M for 3 years and sign PPat and GV for a combined 9-10M, waive Salmons and TH’s non guaranteed contracts we will have 11 -12M to spend this year on FA and a whopping 20M next year when Fields and Hayes expire. I am not kidding. The math is there. .
    We can acquire the PG of the future in this years draft or trade for one as we have the cap space. Ty Lawson makes about 11M. One of Payton or Ennis is within reach.

    Bad or No ? Up to each fan to decide..

    • GoingBig

      “We will have to explain “why” to Demar”

      Actually we won’t have to – Any choice by Lowry to leave will be for a reasonable reason
      – ring-chasing in Miami – he’ll have to take a pay-cut as will the Big-3
      – more money – I think the Raps will offer 11-12 per year(slight over pay). If it’s for $14MM+, then the weight falls upon the market-place not the Raptors. $13MM mmmmmm……. Not easy

      The Raptors organization has accepted good risks with DeMar DeRozan when they signed him for, then, an above market price.

    • Abused Raptors Fan

      Really? $6.5 million to Amir over the next 3? Don’t you think they’d want him to take a bit of a pay cut given his questionable health/durability? Either way, I’d hope that Masai resists the urge to pursue a Colangelo-sequel short-term fix… Especially since he’d then be able to use the extra cap space to offer players in-season bonuses on their extensions, thus reducing their overall cap hit over the rest of the extension (ala OKC with Nick Collison).

      • ckh26

        Yep really ! They are contractually obligated to renew him at 7M or let him go for nothing to another team. We lose Amir the man in the room and Amir the B-Ball player and an asset.
        It might be that they offer an extension of 3 more years on top of the option that can average out the cap hit to 6.5 per year with the last year again being a team option.
        I am of the belief we will resign Lowry and hope to get reasonable deals in place for PPat Amir and GV.
        Those 4 are worth ~28-29M of salary this year. If you are looking to make cap space for this year, 2 or more of those names won’t be here next year.
        Its the 2015-16 season that we get our payoff when we crawl out from underneath the Camby + Fields + Hayes deals and the TH+JS residuals .It seems to be almost a fait du accompli for Salmons and Tyler to be bought out July 1. That will give us 14.7 to 15M. Enough for a max contract.

  • Grumpy guy

    Don’t take this seriously. It’s a slow newsday, just predraft disinformation. Do you really think Miami is going to either restructure any of the big 3 contracts or lose one of them? Also will Lowery be willing to change his style of play? On Miami he’s the 4th option and frankly he wouldn’t even be handling the ball much. Finally he won’t be going there on a discount. At age 28 this is last chance at the “big” 5 year deal. I just don’t see this happening. Shawn Livingston is much better and cheaper fit for Miami.

    • 2damkule

      you may be/probably are right, but i think it’s a pretty safe assumption that one or more of the 3 will opt-out & re-structure, simply because not doing so means a repeat of this year, which would be fine if their aspirations weren’t championship or bust. they know they need an upgrade at PG, someone who can legitimately run the offense and not put the sole burden of doing so on LBJ; wade has deteriorated as a ball-handler and can’t really be relied on to generate offense (for himself or others) at this point. yeah, it’s a bit of a far-fetched idea knowing they’d all have to opt out and re-sign at a lower AAV than they’re actually worth, but they know that doing so is also really their only legit shot at keeping the core together and having a shot at more titles. in general, i agree with the premise of going with a lower-tier PG, more of a placeholder who doesn’t add a whole lot, but who doesn’t take away from their effectiveness as a unit the way chalmers did in the finals, but they aren’t exactly an organization that’s wary of making a big play and going after the best available guy, right?

      • WhiteVegas

        No one in Miami is going to restructure their contract to take less money (they already took less money to play there in the 1st place). The only one who might opt out is Lebron and that would be to leave for another team, thereby making Lowry not want to go to Miami anymore. If the rumors were about the Lakers going hard after Lowry and Lowry having mutual interest then I would start worrying, because LAL can actually afford to pay Lowry. Miami is a just a slow news day rumor. Next we’ll hear that Miami is very interested in Bledsoe and there is mutual interest on both sides.

        • 2damkule

          we shall see.

          • WhiteVegas

            Have you even looked at how much of a pay cut they would all have to take to be able to make a reasonable offer to Kyle and sign some other players? We’re talking roughly $5M per year each. Not happening. Shaun Livingston will be available for around $4M per season, which is a far more likely target for Miami.

            • 2damkule

              i hope you’re right; bosh is already on record as suggesting he’ll opt-out & take a cut, and lebron has been underpaid by about $40M/yr considering the true value he brings to miami (or would bring to any franchise), so the hit for him is marginal (i.e. his basketball salary is dwarfed considerably by his endorsement deals).

              whether they go after lowry as a high-end FA, or try to improve their team otherwise, the big 3 have a decision to make, as improving the roster will require some financial sacrifice on their part, and at this stage of their respective careers, staying together and going for another 2-3 title runs before wade’s legs fall off is probably more appealing to them than going with the status quo and recreating the 2007 cavs….or going their separate ways and, to a degree, starting over.

              • Trivial

                Lebron needs to read the riot act to Wade。 Take Ginobli level money or I am gone。

            • DDayLewis

              Nets wont let Livingston go.

              • WhiteVegas

                He is unrestricted. If Miami offers him a decent deal why wouldn’t Livingston go there? Better shot a championship and a guaranteed starting role, as opposed to being on an aging capped out team where you are the backup PG.

                • 2damkule

                  i think miami, if it wants to upgrade PG, is going to want to make a significant move that actually has an impact on the team. livingstone’s a nice player, but i don’t think he moves the needle enough in that regard…he’s an upgrade over cole, just not sure he’s that much of an upgrade.

                • WhiteVegas

                  Livingston is a big upgrade over Chalmers, their starter at PG, both offensively and defensively. Cole is a backup and not really important to this discussion. If they sign Livingston for $4M per year, then they have lots of money left to sign some decent big men, an even bigger area of need since Haslem is the only one of the team who even tries on defense in the frountcourt. Getting a better PG does not make Miami title favorites again. Getting a defensive center would. Wouldn’t they rather use that freed up cap space on someone like Gortat? I think so.

                • 2damkule

                  you’re probably right, but i also think they recognize the need to add someone who can take some of the offensive burden off LBJ, something wade doesn’t appear able to do to same degree of effectiveness as he once did. by end of the finals, LBJ just seems beaten down by the load he had to carry.

                • DDayLewis

                  Because they have his bird rights. They’ll pay good money to keep him, money no where near what Miami could offer. Plus, Miami isn’t looking to make a non-three-point shooter their starting point guard. Wade not being able to shoot is bad enough.

                • WhiteVegas

                  They don’t have his bird rights. Last season was his first with Brooklyn. You have to have played 3 years with the same team for them to have your bird rights, or have been traded to that team and have your bird rights come with you. Neither of those happened with Livingston. He was signed off waivers for the vet min. Early bird rights are available after 2 seasons with the same team, and that also doesn’t apply here.

                • DDayLewis

                  Shit, that’s true. I guess he can’t get paid by Brooklyn, but the point about Miami’s need for floor-spacing remains. Someone (like Minnesota, see link) will offer more than Miami is willing to spend and Livingston hasn’t made enough money to eschew millions for rings.

                  http://www.netsdaily.com/2014/6/10/5798694/timberwolves-continue-to-have-shaun-livingston-on-their-radar

                • WhiteVegas

                  Perhaps Miami makes a run at GV? He is much more affordable than Lowry and would provide some outside shooting. Not a sexy pickup like Lowry would be but more realistic when salaries are taken into account. I’m sure there are some other floor spacing PG’s available too that cost significantly less than Lowry.

                • DDayLewis

                  He’s a better fit than Livingston, but it looks like Vasquez and Toronto have mutual interest. Plus he’s restricted. He could presumably replace Allen’s role as the first wing off the bench.

                  It makes more sense for Miami to go after a big IMO. They’ve gotten by just fine with their two-headed tandem of Cole and Chalmers. LeBron and Wade are both good ball-handlers. They need to fill Chris Andersen’s absense if he leaves.

                • WhiteVegas

                  Very true. I think if Miami is able to free up a good chunk of cap space someone like Gortat makes a ton more sense than Lowry. Lowry is not going to stop Duncan from getting layups at will.

  • Nilanka15

    If Lowry leaving means going hard after Eric Bledsoe, then I’m game.

    • Christopher Bird

      It will certainly be fun to force Phoenix to match our salary offer!

      wait no that doesn’t work

  • Roarque

    First of all, the good news: it is not about the money. Not the contract money anyway. Today’s elite NBA player makes so much more money outside of the contract that it pales in comparison. Secondly, KLow has matured to the point where he understands that his happiness is predicated on working with a

    • webfeat

      I think KLo would make more money from endorsements if he played for a high profile team like Miami.

      • 2damkule

        yeah, not to mention the tax savings (which may not be as significant as some/most assume, but it’s not nothing).

        • WhiteVegas

          Players are paid by the game, and they are taxed wherever the game is played. So Toronto players only pay Canadian taxes on games played in Toronto. The top income taxes in the US and Canada are pretty damn close. The difference in money is likely less than $1M per year, so not even close to making up for the $5-$8M per year less Kyle would have to take to play in Miami.

          • 2damkule

            unless, as we’re discussing above, the big 3 opt-out & restructure their deals, re-signing for less & allowing the heat to sign lowry to a competitive (though likely lower) contract than what TO could (and should) offer. i don’t want to burst your bubble, but that’s sort of miami’s (and riley’s) thing.

            • WhiteVegas

              The big 3 took roughly $1M-$2M less than they could have gotten to play together. In order to sign Lowry, Lebron would have to take $15M per year, and Wade and Bosh would have to take $12M per year (as opposed to the $20+M per year they are due to make the next 2 seasons). If you think that’s happening I have a bridge in NY I’d love to sell you.

              Also, how is that Miami’s thing? They haven’t gotten anyone to take a huge discount to play there. They have gotten guys to take tiny discounts, but hell, so have the Spurs.

              Worry about teams like the Lakers with an actual shot at signing Lowry. Miami is just not a realistic destination because the money isn’t there.

              • 2damkule

                …and if you think that the 3 – particularly LBJ – after going through that finals, is going to be content to simply opt-in and take their full value contracts, knowing it will handcuff them in their ability to improve the team, well, we’ll agree to disagree. the moves they make now will shape their legacy, and i just don’t believe that they are – collectively – content with what they’ve achieved. i can certainly see all 3 opting out and re-signing for the figures you’ve indicated, if it allows them to improve the team; in wade & bosh’s cases, that’s closer to their actual value anyway, and lebron…well, since it’s impossible to pay him his true value anyway, the difference in $5M/yr is something of a wash.

                • WhiteVegas

                  If they do take cuts, they will be small cuts ($1M-$2M each), and it will give them space to sign someone like Shaun Livingston, in addition to other role players so that they actually have a bench. They won’t make enough room to pay someone else $10+M per year (Lowry), and that wouldn’t fix their problems, which is the lack of a bench (or competent players other than the big 3).

                • 2damkule

                  again, i hope you’re right, as i obv. want lowry in TO. but i think this finals showed just how much having a paper-thin bench hurt them, so going with marginal pay cuts and a marginal improvement over chalmers at PG, while having scraps left to fill out the roster, doesn’t seem as though it’d be overly appealing to them, since they’d be in pretty much the same position. if they want to challenge for titles, they’re going to need more than mediocre production from their starters, if for no other reason to offset wade’s decline.

                  it depends on how appealing the situation is to lowry, and how much less of a contract he’d settle on with them vs. his full market value; if it’s closer to $8M/yr (which seems like a stretch now, but was considered an overpay 6 months ago), then i can see it happening. you take the $1M or so in tax differences (give or take), the boost he’ll get in national exposure & endorsements that come with that by being a key cog on a title contender (and in that lineup, he’d be #2-3 in the pecking order, depending on how wade regresses physically), and who knows, maybe that’s enough to make up the difference, if it means playing with lebron fucking james and playing for titles for the rest of his prime.

                • SR

                  It should be noted that other teams where stars take discounts, like the Spurs, have not allowed them enough cap space to sign an All-Star calibre player in his prime such as Lowry. All the discounts allow for is the ability to re-sign and retain internally developing youth, like Splitter, and to add slightly more solid role player vets like Diaw as opposed to poo-poo-platter role players like Beasley and Oden. The Heat need to be able to sign the next Boris, Mike Miller, or 3-years-ago-Shane-Battier instead of the crap they picked up this season while losing Mike Miller. That’s all. They don’t need to, and can’t, add another All-Star level player.

                • SR

                  WhiteVegas – my thoughts exactly. This is a Windhorst article that essentially goes like this: “Miami needs a PG. Kyle Lowry is a FA PG. Miami should get Kyle Lowry!” I’d give this a 1 in 10 probability of actually happening. For more likely is the scenario you describe.

                • noname

                  Well…I see the big 3 disbanding. Or at least Lebron is leaving because he is stuck with old players whom just aren’t getting the job done anymore.

          • Abused Raptors Fan

            Yeah, but I believe that Americans have to pay taxes on income earned outside of the States… So the Raptors players might have to pay double for the games played in Toronto. Obviously, it wouldn’t be the full tax rate, but even still. Now, from what I remember, the IRS rarely pursues these issues, but there was quite the controversy a few years ago as the US sought to collect those taxes from Americans living/working here in Canada.

      • WhiteVegas

        Have you seen a single Bosh advertisement since he joined Miami? Nope? Me neither. Lebron and Wade get all the love and everyone else is non-existent when it comes to endorsements.

      • Roarque

        Kyle would be the third or fourth most famous player on the HEAT and this is national advertising that I’m talking about not Primo Pasta and local car dealers. They’ll want to spread their basketball spokespeople around the league and guess who will be chosen to represent, say, Gatorage or Pepsi in the South East? You guessed it – NOT Kyle. If he stayed in Canada he could be the face of Ford or Chrysler for the country and then add on a food giant like Kraft and the Canadian rep for ADIDAS or Nike. That’s just the way it works.

    • Mexiballer

      Agreed, agreed and agreed. Lowry is not going anywhere. Him and his family are happy here. And he does believe that the Raptors organization is seriously interested in building a contender…and they are. He just wants a pay day for him and his family…thats all.

  • asifyouknow

    Lowry is a very good place right now , he had the best season of his NBA career on his contract year.
    That is the perfect storm, so now he gets to choose how much, where and with whom he wants to play.
    Toronto has to give him the money and promise him a few quality players.

  • golden

    Point guard is the most stacked position in the NBA, with experience levels at all career stages. And there at least 4 more good-to-great guards coming into the league this year’s draft (Smart, Exum, Payton, Ennis). So, there should always be a few excellent PGs available via trade or FA for at least the next 5 years. In some ways, not paying max dollars for Lowry might end up being a blessing in disguise.

  • asifyouknow

    If would be great if they could keep the core and add Deng and another quality big but the money is not there.

  • Rap fan 2

    It’s not going matter much if Kyle decides to leave. If he does then other players on the team will have the opportunity to take up the slack. As evident from the Spurs and how they are built and how much success they have had over the years, the team is what matters most. The key is to bring in players to fit the team and the team’s playing style and system and philosophy. It’s also important why you also want to have a stable and strong leadership in management as well as absolute consistent team system and coaching. Everyone buys in and plays the system from players 1 to 15. Players are interchangeable. This model of the San Antonio Spurs is one I would have the Toronto Raptors follow after.

    • Saskatoon Raps Fan

      A major difference here tho is that the spurs model has grown and developed over yrs and yrs. Lowry’s leadership last yr was a huge reason for the culture change around the team. We need Lowry to keep the momentum going. While we want the raps want to model themselves after the spurs, they still have a ways to go before they are at the point where they can just absorb the loss of a player like Lowry who was by far their MVP last yr. he is key to building upon what was started last yr.

    • 2damkule

      i know, right? seems so simple. just do what the spurs do. DUH!

      • asifyouknow

        lol..They been doing it a long time and they got a guy name Pops..lol

      • Rap fan 2

        Can’t you see their playing style and pattern of the plays they run? It’s obvious on offense. The ball keeps moving and doesn’t stick. Their players are constantly cutting and moving at the same time. The opponent needs to keep shifting and moving to catch up. Eventually the Spurs will more than likely get a wide open look at the basket. I would say the Spurs play a more Euro ball on offense. Apparently, they practice these multiple passing plays during practices, obviously. Is there a team in the NBA that passes the ball around and cutting as much as the Spurs do? Maybe the Heat. Looking at a team like OKC and their talent level, I think doing more passing to get players open will really help them. The Raptors did more passing after the trade of Rudy Gay. However, compared to what we saw how the Spurs man-handled the Heat in the Finals, we are way behind what an elite passing team like the Spurs run in terms of the passing game. We have way too many isolation plays. How hard is it to emulate the passing high efficiency offensive game of the Spurs? How hard is any system? If the Raptors plan on improving their offense would it not make sense to copy what the best do? The other point to make here is that the Raptors don’t have three All-Stars like a lot of teams in the NBA. You don’t need All-Stars to play Spurs system offense and defense. Of course it would be really helpful to have Coach Pop on the team to play Spurs style basketball. But I’m sure it’s not absolutely necessary, right? You simply need someone with a little vision and foresight and commitment.

  • realist

    If the heat all opt out and offer him good money more then what raps can, which is possible , then I don’t blame him besides the NBA is a business and I’m sure he wants to collect as much money as possible before he’s past his prime
    GV/ free agent/ Draft..it’s a fixable situation except I doubt we will be as good as this year

  • keith

    Two scenarios, 1. Sign Lowry and status quo continues. 2. Lowry bolts for greener pastures and raps resign Vasquez and PatPat and draft a future replacement for Lowry.

    I would prefer 1 but 2 doesn’t exactly translate to the Raps being in the celler again! Vasquez is a solid starting PG while Elfrid/Napier/Ellis grow over the year. Keeping 2Pat is very important IMO and there will still be money left over to attract some bench help, ala a backup center for Jonas.

    I think either way the raps will be fine. If Lowry goes to Miami, maybe we can get their draft pick and get both a future PG and a decent defensive wing (Grant). This team is still on the climb and Lowry won’t change that dramatically. Bosh and Carter left with horrible teams, this team isn’t horrible. Jonas, Amir and DD are a good base to keep going.

  • why

    Lowry is an alpha dog personality. On Miami he would be a forth wheel – not a role he would likely shine in.

    • Milesboyer

      Very true, but does he have enough sense to recognize that or will his alpha dog ego fool him into thinking a shot at a championship is the ultimate emancipation.

  • CNinja26

    I don’t understand why he would do that. Sure he’ll have a shot at a championship, and who wouldn’t want that, but it’s clear that Lowry thrives when he is the alpha dog dominating the ball. In Miami, that’s not going to happen, so I question whether it would be a good fit.
    On the other hand, if he wants to go then he should go. I haven’t been the biggest fan of GV, but I do like that he loves the city so much, and that he showed up big time in the playoffs. Tyler Ennis is also one of my favorite players coming out of the draft – if he can slip to 20, I want the Raptors to jump on that.

    • wrooster

      Just checked the latest mock drafts and most of them actually have Ennis dropping down to us – a couple even have him dropping lower!!!

      • Abused Raptors Fan

        Honestly, I’d rather draft Payton than Ennis, as I see him becoming a great backup point guard/6th man, but nothing more. Meanwhile, Payton has the potential to develop into a dynamic 2-way player given his athleticism and defensive instincts/fundamentals.

  • Lets Play

    Its weird when you think about how the Raptors currently have 4 point guards behind Lowry, and none of them are close to matching what Lowry does for the team. If Lowry leaves Vasquez will ultimately be given the starting role and De Colo would be the back up but the team would not be the same. Who knows maybe Julian Stone or Dwight Buycks are hidden superstars?

    • webfeat

      What’s inexplicably weirder was when Casey would play three PGs at the same time during the playoffs.

  • Mexiballer

    How is this bad news? Lowry is a desired free agent and teams are interested in him. This isnt bad news. This is and was completely predictable news. What did people expect? He would have no interest or offers? Why wouldnt Riley try to spin his convincing magic on Lowry and try to land him. Thats his job. There will be other teams that try to do the same. We already knew that. And Lowry’s agent is just doing his job by upping the ante and getting Masai and the Raptors to cough up the money. Whats new in the world of free agency. This is not real news or anything unexpected. Its called free agency. Lowry is staying in Toronto.

  • t-bagger

    If Lowry decides to walk I would be upset, but it also opens up options in the draft and free agency. Most likely one of either Payne, Ennis, Payton, Young or Hood will be there. So we either have our back up pg to grevis, resign 2pat and sign a sf with money saved. Or a replacement for 2pat, sign a sf and pg along with grevis. Or sign 2pat and grevis and free agent pg with young or hood behind Ross. Carter and deng would be now affordable

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  • Alex Vostrikov

    ujiri made the right decision by keeping lowry… regardless him staying or leaving. raps had a great run, and enjoyable season.
    from what we heard and read before trade dead line, raps has a few low ball offers that’s it… the one with new York was complete BS. no one would trade anyone with potential for lowry at the time.
    think about it, loosing team keep their young and promising players…. wont trade for a rental for a few months. good playoff teams, usually don’t have anything to offer, but some salary dumps and late draft picks. and to draft some one good late, you have to be lucky. or have GREAT system for developing players… think spurs. anyone goes there, suddenly becomes serviceable NBA player.
    raps are not that….
    anyways, it was the real joy this year.

  • Joey Drummond

    There is no ‘there’ there in this news. Lowry and his agent will seek the best possible deal; simple as that. The Lakers, IMO, are still the most likely destination, other than Toronto. Leaking news about possible destinations is a great way to drive up your value. Lowry likely goes to LA, or stays in Toronto. Book it.

    • Milesboyer

      What makes LA so attractive? Their team sucks and will suck next year. Unless your talking about reputation and Cali weather, LA has got nothing on Toronto.

      • Nilanka15

        Reputation and Cali weather are big factors (sadly).

      • Joey Drummond

        With respect, if you don’t think playing for the LA Lakers is an attractive option for an NBA player in free agency, then you literally know nothing about the NBA. Yes, the team is not very strong right now, but it remains a top option for most elite players in the NBA. Where does Kevin Love want to play? Oh ya! LA! I can’t imagine why Kyle Lowry wants to go there for 4 years and $50 million.

  • hotshot

    “it would mean the Raptors roster wouldn’t look drastically different if Lowry does end up leaving. They’d be, more or less, in the same position they are now only with Shumpert on the roster. I’m not sure how much better of a position that is.”

    I disagree, they would be in a better position because A) they would probably been in the lottery and would have gotten a better pool of talent B) they could have easily tear down this roster much earlier on and thus be in even clearer outlook moving forward.

    Also I think with Lowry it was always going to be a lose-lose situations. Guy is injury prone, coming into a contract year and decides to shed the pounds and play right to is always a scary predicament. With the way he is playing “Wade’ish” he is bound to miss many more games and be more injury prone down the future thus the weight gain and inconsistencies would surly follow and bury the Raptors chances of going long in the playoffs. This however doesn’t diminish the fact that his departure would create a big void, one that could bring the Raptors back to the lottery next season.

    I hope these are only rumors and nothing more because if Lowry doesn’t sign back, Masai may have just gambled the Raptor’s future again like Babcock and Colangelo did.

  • TheSpiceTyrant

    I wonder if we could swing a 3 way trade/sign involving Love / Lowry+Big? / And something Miami could offer?
    What the hell can Miami offer anyone?!?!?

  • ckh26

    So here’s an article written out of South Florida on Lebrons unwillingness to cut his salary so his owner can save luxury tax money. To get Kyle not only will Lebron have to take a pay cut so will Bosh/Wade/Haslam. If they want Kyle and have to pay market rate for him they will still be in luxury tax territory. Note that the other “piece” in the puzzle is Carmello Anthony.

    When push comes to shove with these guys. Money talks.

    http://network.yardbarker.com/author/article_external/16676356?widget=true

  • asifyouknow

    Just got done watching some Toronto replays. That Amir/Vasquez game is just awesome, smooth, you think they been playing together forever, just did not understand why Casey did not take advantage of that game.
    Vaz and Amir in a P&R offense would be hard to beat. Hope JV worked on his ball receiving skills so he can get that ball on the run thing down.

  • dcon

    Ross for Reggie Jackson… OKC is looking for a shooting guard

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