After being swept by the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Toronto Raptors will be making a tough decision in the upcoming offseason regarding the future of the franchise. Kyle Lowry, who missed the last two games due to injury, will become an unrestricted free agent and reportedly received interest from his hometown team, Philadelphia 76ers.
Last season, the backcourt duo of Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan helped the Raptors enter the Eastern Conference Finals. Despite losing to the Cavaliers, this brought an optimism to Toronto that they can become a legitimate title contender in the 2016-17 NBA season. They managed to upgrade their roster with the acquisition of Serge Ibaka and P.J. Tucker.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to dethrone the reigning NBA champions. The Cavaliers advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals unscathed, waiting for either the Boston Celtics or the Washington Wizards. Meanwhile, the Raptors are on the verge of breaking their core and may consider starting the new chapter of their franchise.
DeMar DeRozan wants Kyle Lowry back
Kyle Lowry is expected to opt out of the final year of his contract to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. The Raptors point guard missed the last two games after suffering an ankle injury in Game 2. With the Raptors completely eliminated in the playoffs, Lowry’s future in Toronto started to become part of various discussions.
According to Zach Lowe of ESPN, it would not be practical for the Raptors to bring back the same roster next season. This would put them t least $30 million over the luxury tax, for a total bill of something like $250 million. Lowe said that Raptors’ offseason should start with Lowry.
If they want to re-sign him, they could offer him a five-year, $200 million-plus deal. DeMar DeRozan wants Lowry to return to Toronto but said that he won’t pressure him to make a quick decision.
“I didn’t call or pressure him the first time, and he didn’t do that to me,” DeRozan said. “I’m just gonna be there for him as a friend.”
Kyle Lowry to Philadelphia 76ers
Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri decided not to divulge any information regarding their offseason plan. Giving Kyle Lowry a maximum contract is quite risky knowing that he’s already 31-years-old. However, as Lowe notes, Lowry may consider entertaining other offers from other NBA teams. This will happen if the Raptors will not immediately re-sign him this summer.
“Play hardball with Lowry, and he might leave — just like Al Horford bolted Atlanta after the Hawks haggled over that dicey fifth season. Lowry’s a prickly, proud dude, and he will have suitors — including his hometown Sixers,” Lowe wrote.
In the past months, Lowry has been frequently linked to his hometown team, Philadelphia 76ers. The Sixers need an upgrade at backcourt who can play alongside Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. Lowry will undeniably be a great addition for the Sixers. However, it remains questionable if he’s interested in playing for a noncontender team, knowing that he’s already on the downside of his career.
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