You can check out the free agency live update thread to get the taste of how it went down and all the links/tweets/etc from the last two days, but here’s the gist of it: the Raptors are nowhere close to signing Kyle Lowry.

Lowry has met with the Houston Rockets including Kevin McHale and Daryl Morey, the former who he has very much patched things up with, and they can offer him money in the $12M range. This happened in the early hours of Tuesday morning. The Raptors, including Masai Ujiri and Dwane Casey, met him during the day and presented their offer. There has also been reportedly been a bid from the Lakers but details of that are very unclear and there hasn’t been a face-to-face meeting with them.  The latest is that he’s going to take some time to mull things over, which doesn’t bode well for the Raptors because all it does is give other teams time to sweeten their offers and present more doors to Lowry.

The Miami Heat have been telling FAs that they have $12M to spend, which if you believe them, puts them on par with what the Raptors have been rumoured to offer (~$12M). The latest reports, though, say that the Heat have not progressed in talks.   There was even some talk of the Raptors adding a fifth year to sweeten the deal, but that’s just that, talk.  Where we stand presently is somewhere here: Lowry has cash offers similar to what he got from the Raptors from teams that are closer to a championship than the Raptors are.  That is the bottom line.  There was a sense of confidence amongst us that the Raptors would be the only team to give Lowry his pending “big pay day”, which is turning out to be false.  He has interest from teams who are working very hard to create room to accommodate him, or will have room if a sign-and-trade is executed.

Houston was rumoured to be interested in a sign-and-trade for Lowry which – and I don’t want to sound doom-and-gloom here – could potentially be the Raptors best course of action.  At the end of the day, if Lowry wants to be elsewhere and get paid, it’s in the Raptors best interest to get whatever they can in return, much like Bryan Colangelo did with Chris Bosh.  The Raptors are not going to be able to lure Lowry based on what they can offer financially alone, and nor should they.  The last thing you want is a player who is on your roster just for financial reasons.   Looking at the Houston PG lineup of Patrick Beverley, Isaiah Canaan, and Jeremy Lin, if the Raptors are able to squeeze Berverley and a pick out, it would be sound business considering Lowry’s unrestricted status.

Obviously, all that is Plan B and Plan A remains to bring Lowry back.  There’s some talk of the Raptors potentially pushing the $14M mark to retain him and how that would be bad for the long-term.  I call that hogwash.  If a player can play, sign him up.  He’s never going to be a cap-crippling player and barring injury, will always have value.  In a league where contracts like Rashard Lewis and Rudy Gay have no trouble moving around, I find it hard to be too concerned that an under-30 Lowry is the reason our salary situation will be busted.  My view is that when you have talent, you do whatever it takes to retain it, especially considering the positions of the Raptors draft picks in the coming years.

There is no news on the Greivis Vasquez front except that Shaun Livingston signed a $16M/3yr deal, which works out to $5.3M a season.  Does that set the bar for Vasquez?  The Venezuelan made $2.15M last season and if Livingston, who you might consider a more versatile player albeit has injury concerns, maxes out at $5.3M, what does that mean for Vasquez?  The Raptors hope that any offer Vasquez signs is between the two numbers, making it around $3.7M which would be a reasonable rate for him.

The last we heard from Vasquez was after he received his qualifying offer:

“I’m happy with my qualifying offer, but more than that, I want to sign a multi-year deal with Toronto. So hopefully everything is taken care of, beginning tonight because free agency starts at 12 o’clock tonight. So I really hope that we get a good deal and I can be in Toronto for a few years or hopefully my whole career.”

If Vasquez is “happy” with his qualifying offer of $3.2M, then a rate of $3.7M would be a boon for him, especially over multiple years.  What Day One told us is that nobody is dying to sign Greivis Vasquez, as there were literally no reports about him at all, so the competition the Raptors are facing for him could be manageable.

Going back to the Lowry front, I really feel that this is more than just about a free-agent.  The Raptors have been historically awful are retaining their big free-agents and here we are the crossroads yet again.  I feel that signing Lowry is critical to sending out a message to the rest of the league that Toronto, as Tim Leiweke purports, is a world-class city with world-class franchises that should not have any trouble attracting players.   This is about the stature of the Raptors franchise as much as it is about retaining Lowry.  If we’re able to retain the best free-agent PG against competition from Miami, Houston, and the Lakers, that would send out a very strong message.

Part of me thought that having put Lowry on the block in December might come into play here, and that might be a sticking point for Lowry.  However, if Houston, who actually traded him, have the balls to come back and offer deals, then the Raptors have nothing to worry about on that front.

I do like the confidence the Raptors have in their approach of Lowry. The latest reported stated that the Toronto camp felt a measure of confidence since “he knows us, and we know him”.  Every report thus far has talked about how confident the Raptors are that they can keep Lowry despite interest from big clubs.  I’m not sure if their confidence stems from the amount offered, the situation in Toronto, or simply knowing Kyle Lowry, one just hopes it’s not unfounded.  The Raptors “sources” that keep talking about this confidence also tend to iterate that they have an alternate plan in place if things work out.  I don’t know what that looks like, except that it’s not as good as Lowry actually re-signing.

  • Brandon Ellis

    I’m pretty coomfortable with whatever happens. I’m with you, I think a sign and trade with Houston maybe the best solution for toronto. I think though, its Jeremy Lin plus two assets. Keep flexability, maintain competitiveness to a point and pick up more assets. maybe try ot get terrence jones or Clint Capela.

    Either way, sign lowry or sign and trade him. I’m open to both. Its the difference with having a good GM and organization now.

    • Mexiballer

      Im with both of you. We obviously made him a good offer. If he doesnt want to stay then we’ll move on to whats next.

    • ad

      No, I dont agree. if they arent retaining him this whole season has been a waste. Without him, this team is a lottery team. If he leaves, what are they going to do? tank? Cmon, he has to stay and MUST stay. He is a core piece.

      • ad

        Also cap fliexibility is useless if you dont utlilize it properly.

        • Brandon Ellis

          If he leaves, you get a replacement and improve in other areas. This team doesn’t tank just because they’ve lost lowry. No doubt he’s important, but you can duplicate his production with another point guard and spreading it around to other positions.

          I want Lowry back, but I’m not excited about breaking the back for him and clogging up future cap space which can be used in trade or free agency.

          Also, remember Lowry is 3 or 4 years older than the “oldest” members of this teams “core” minus Amir. If this team continues to improve and get better Kyle will be potentially out of his prime when this team competes.

          All I’m saying is, losing him isn’t the end of the world. This team with or without Kyle is in great shape.

          • Dunkenstein

            I disagree. Lowry is the heart and soul of this team and it’s best player (Sorry Demar).
            And there is no way we will find an all star caliber replacement.

    • Dunkenstein

      It isn’t up to us re a sign and trade if Lowry wants to sign with Houston. And about obtaining Lin. I completely disagree with you. We have two other pg’s on this team far superior to Lin.

  • Zee

    Honestly, no crying over spilled milk. If he wants to stay, we’ve made the offer. If he doesn’t, we move on to plan B. We also hope we win a championship while he’s still in the league on that contract that he chose over ours without a championship. That is all.

    But, seriously I don’t care what reports say, my gut instinct says, he’s staying! #TrustMasai

  • GoingBig

    If we are retaining him, $14MM is a number that can be proffered. Too much?

    But in the next two years we will be clearing plenty of cap space – Camby/Fields/Hayes/Williams/
    An extra $2MM per year – that would have been going to cover free agents and increase in salary for JV and TRoss.

    This is an easier price to pay over the next 4 years – especially, as likely, there is an increase in the cap over the next few years.

    If that is an overpay, it isn’t because Toronto is a terrible place to play, it’s because other teams were willing to match our starting $12MM.

  • Rm

    I remember waiting and checking rr all the time when we were after Steve Nash during free agency.
    This time I think our GM is more prepared if things don’t work out.

    • tecumseh18

      Not to support Colangelo, but he was prepared for Nash not signing. He brought in Lowry.

  • Andrew

    Anyone hear anything about PP?

  • jakdripr

    Yea at this point either outcome works for me, if he stays I’m happy, but if he leaves he won’t be the first or the last, ill live.

  • Mexiballer

    Toronto Raptor fans seem to be the only ones who think highly of Vasquez. Im not saying he didnt improve or contribute to this team. But to compare him to a Shaun Livingston level and think that other teams are going to come after him in any serious way is unrealistic.

    He is very average in a lot of different ways.

    Patrick Patterson on the other hand I believe is fairly under rated. Hopefully we can resign him at a good price. I would hate to lose that guy. And would love to see him be a long time Raptor.

    • asifyouknow

      You are something else , you have any clue about the game. Do you?

      You plan Playstation basketball all day don’t you?

      And you play Fantasy NBA so all you care about is fantasy stats , that is why you miss Rudy don’t you?

      It took awhile to figure you out but I finely got it.

      Vasquez is one of the best back ups in the NBA so get over it, he won’t be here next season anyway. So stop the hate, he is gone.

      By the way Fantasy basketball is not the real NBA ..Just in case you did not know that.

      LMAO

      • Mexiballer

        Yup…you got me figured out.

        • asifyouknow

          You do know fantasy basketball is not for real right? thus the word fantasy…lol..
          You are a real trip dude I’ll miss you when I leave the post. You ok in my book most of the time….

          • Tuneyain

            Take a chill pill, who are you, Vasquez’s agent?

            • asifyouknow

              Lol ….nothing wrong here. Are you ok?

              • yomama

                I like Vasquez and his swagger. Great backup and can start on some nights. But as if, you sound like a d-bag for not letting someone have an opinion and sound uneducated by drawing your conclusion on how someone arrived at their perception on someone.

                • asifyouknow

                  all opinions are valid and I’m very respectful of your

    • asifyouknow

      TEAM THAT HAVE CONTACTED VASQUEZ:

      HOUSTON
      CHICAGO
      KNICKS
      MIAMI
      DALLAS
      Dam all winning teams go figure!

  • ad

    I dont like this “take a few days to decide” stance from lowry. If it was really a no brainer he should have signed by now like gortat did with the wizards. Im worried. Not only is this team significantly worse without him, this will just further add to the players dont want to play in Toronto thing.

    • GoingBig

      It is NOT a no brainer because Houston brought bags of money(equal to the Raptors) and a chance for the finals – likely better than the Raptors. If it was only the Heat showing up with $8MM, it would be a no-brainer.

      • ad

        Hou and Mia cant pay him nearly as much as the raps can. Its about other factors like winning, family, location etc. and that part worries me. Because if he was just looking for money, I really think he would have signed by now.

        • GoingBig

          I think you are right about Miami not having enough money. They have $12MM but they have to build a full supporting team around LeBron – especially centre.
          Houston might be another problem. They have dropped $8MM cap-space by trading Asik. But Jeremy Lin’s poison pill of $8MM is not so easily gotten rid of. A sign & trade sending Lin & suitable bribe (Beverley or more likely a pick) to Toronto
          But it looks like they have matched – whatever the fragility of their cap space

          • Dunkenstein

            Too funny about Houston. They dumped both Dragic and Lowry ( two all star caliber PG’s) for Lin who is a back up at best. Now they’re dying to get Lowry back. They could have had him for half the money a few yrs. ago.

      • Dunkenstein

        It is NOT a no brainer because Houston brought bags of money(equal to the Raptors)
        >> That would be incorrect. No team can offer as much as the Raptors.

        • Tuneyain

          @GoingBig:disqus @disqus_0fhS9fOv10:disqus We can’t forget about the fact that Lowry isn’t a priority for Miami or Houston. Both teams are struggling to land their franchise players, and basically everything depends on the decisions of Melo and Lebron. For example if Lebron chooses to return to Miami, the Bulls will go all out in signing Melo. In this case then neither teams would have the 12 million to spend on Lowry. Also, if Lebron decides to leave Miami, Lowry will definitely decline their offer because they would no longer be a championship contender. In a sense, I think that’s why Lowry has been dragging out this process because he wants to see everything pan out.

    • Dunkenstein

      Of course I can’t be sure but I have a strong feeling Lowry will be back and that his agent is doing due diligence. to make sure he gets the best deal possible for his client. Raps aren’t a championship caliber team but they are solid with Lowry in the lineup and the young guys all getting a year more experience.

  • Ted

    If he stays good, if not make a S&T with Houston for Lin + Pelican 1st+Houston’s 2014 1st rounder.
    Would clear cap space and pick up a couple of assets. Might as well start building for the future if Lowry walks.

  • raptorstand

    I said it after Chris Bosh left that we were the Toronto Expos, if Lowry doesn’t sign a long term big deal , all the cheering and all the hoping is just bs. Second class citizens feeding the big money teams in the south. I hate the name Toronto Expos, but if the shoe fits.

  • DMart

    Just FYI, the scenarios of potential sign-and-trade deals for Lowry with Houston have included mentions of Jeremy Lin, but also according to NBC have mentioned potentially signing-and-trading Houston’s free agent SF Chandler Parsons as part of the exchange for Lowry as well (Source: http://probasketballtalk.nbcsports.com/2014/07/01/reports-kyle-lowry-mulling-offer-from-raptors-him-going-to-houston-dead/related/)

  • Tamberlyn Richardson

    Something no one seems to be touching on is Lowry’s relationships with the existing core, specifically DeMar DeRozan. Last season this combo were the second best in the NBA behind only Curry and Thompson. Further, they were the best combo through the first round of the playoffs.

    Perhaps no one thinks this matters, but in a league where stats gets you individual rewards like All Star appearances and makes your job easier on a night to night basis I think it does.

    Sure if he goes to Houston he’ll be paired with James Harden which on the surface seems great for offense, but the fact Howard and Harden both need multiple touches tends to make me think Lowry’s opportunities drop. Then there is Harden’s brutal defense. Part of the reason Beverley isn’t much of a contributor on offense is he is tasked with covering the best offensive guard on the opposing team while also picking up the slack on Harden’s man.

    DeRozan may be lacking in this area as well, but given his propensity to be a gym rat and return each season with a new piece in his arsenal I’d bet this summer’s workload will heavily feature him focusing on defensive slides and defense in general.

    I could just being overly optimistic, but I do believe the chemistry the Raptors forged this season and Lowry’s partnership with DeRozan will be more than just a minor factor when he makes his decision.

    • GoingBig

      Like you, I think that the on-court co-ordination did not work well last year
      Hope it is considered by Lowry.

    • Dunkenstein

      Agreed. DD has improved different aspects of his game each year. He was exposed in the playoffs by Johnson. Probably embarrassed. He needs to work hard on his D so he is no longer a liability at our end of the floor. He’s quick, strong and fairly long and I’m sure if works at it hard he can become a better defender.

  • B P

    I’d take lin in a heart beat… truth is lowry is just okay… he’s not worth $12-14M. Lin has been misused and marginalized in Houston. Linsanity lives on….

  • ezz_bee

    I don’t like Lowry at 14 mill/year. Although all indications are the cap increasing year over year. I’d probably rather take a S&T than 5 years at 14 mil. Although I won’t put it past Masai to do to Lowry what he did to Nene in Denver, and over pay him and then trade him the following season.

  • Rapchat

    Here is my theory on KL waiting a few days to decide…

    He knows Toronto loves him. Part of the allure to play in Toronto is that he is “the man”. If he signed right away that be great and he’s still be the man, however, if he waits a few days, fields offers, and then ultimately decides to stay in TO..this will make him an even bigger “man” in TO. He didn’t sign on hometown sentimentality, he signed bc it was the best situation overall. I think that bodes well for his hero status plus what is says to other free agents about TO…

    Right?

  • Ray B

    LMMFAO! Beverley? I don’t think the raptors or any team is looking for Beverley, a player who is a 9th or 10th player off the bench. Too funny.

  • asifyouknow

    TEAM THAT HAVE CONTACTED VASQUEZ:
    HOUSTON
    CHICAGO
    KNICKS
    MIAMI
    DALLAS
    Dam all winning teams go figure!

    • GoingBig

      Maybe looking for another DJ Augustin – We seem to scatter them about.

      • asifyouknow

        Did well and can be had cheap…Chicago apparently is not all there with him couse they are looking for a pg

    • GoingBig

      Any source on this?

    • asifyouknow

      Me

  • JAKE the SNAKE

    Mike Grange is going to have egg on his face if Lowry signs elsewhere, considering how much of a limb he went out on when he proclaimed it’s guaranteed he’ll sign here.

  • RapthoseLeafs

    Since I’m not a fly on Massai’s wall, nor a mirror in Lowry’s vicinity, I’ll stick to guesstimating.

    If I was in Lowry’s shoes, I have 2 choices. I can lead Toronto to the level of a good team – East weak or not. A quality team who’ll compete, but one that lacks Contender status like Miami has. And will for some time – assuming their little power play unfolds as expected. But reality is for Toronto – they have difficulty drawing one Star. Three is a great dream. The alternate option is for Kyle to join the team “borne of the Decision”. The logic will be presented to Lowry in a flawless manner – 4 Finals … 2 Championships. And then comes the “we are missing what you have” pitch.

    Kyle may believe he can be the one who takes Toronto Raptors somewhere. But he has to realize that if he signs a 4 year contract (minimum I would say), it will be year 3 before Raptors approach Miami status. If they do. The Heat is on for Kyle Lowry.

    And then there’s Houston. While Howard may be more motivated to put things together, Kyle has to recognize that Harden likes working the ball … a lot. If this was the only competition, I’d give the overwhelming odds to Toronto.
    .

    As to what happens if Kyle jumps ship – and becomes the “Abandoner” … ala … the new Raptor villain; I think Raptors can recover.

    Kyle wants to win. And I respect that. But Raptors have to stay focused – and keep building. I’m worried that an overloaded contract to Kyle could impede that progress. I also like Vasquez. I think he’s under-rated by fans. For me, he defines what I believe a good PG has to be on a winning team – the Leader who’s not the Star.

    .

    • RapthoseLeafs

      Never mind.

      lol.

      I just read the “news”.
      .