I was going to try my best to leave the “Kyle Lowry: Impending Free Agent” stuff alone for the most part this year. At this point, I feel that most know my stance about it, that I’m not worried, that I don’t fault professional athletes for acting out of self-interest and maximizing their earnings over very short careers. And I’d hope, after going through the same process with DeMar DeRozan last season, that most readers know the important details around a superstar free agent scenario – that the collective bargaining agreement is far too restrictive to make an extension possible, that a player doesn’t “owe” a franchise anything, that having to pay substantial raises to important pieces is the cost of becoming, and remaining, very competitive.

Yes, it was absolutely notable when Lowry more or less confirmed to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical this week that he’ll decline his $12-million player option for 2017-18 at the end of this season, barring major injury. It is not, however, all that concerning, at least from a 2016-17 perspective. This won’t be a distraction, Lowry isn’t going to talk about it, and the team seems pretty well-insulated from outside disturbances, if the last few seasons are any indication. Lowry’s opting out, but everyone understands that it’s a formality. C.R.E.A.M.

More than the “yes/no” of opting out, what stood out from Wojnarowski’s piece was the fact that Lowry isn’t talking discount or short-term deal (not that he’d negotiate against himself publicly). Again, none of this should surprise, as Lowry’s been underpaid on his current deal and is about to enter a robust market for what will likely be his last major contract. Lowry wants a five-year deal, and while he loves the Toronto Raptors organization, he wants something done quickly, or he’ll look elsewhere. Totally reasonable.

From the Wojnarowski piece:

Lowry, 30, loves the life he has there, the contending core, the endorsement opportunities, the manic fanbase and the chance to someday raise his No. 7 into the arena rafters. Somewhere on the summer market – Philadelphia, New York, perhaps the Clippers, should they lose Paul – there will be an offer in the neighborhood of a max deal for him. Nevertheless, Lowry’s preference is a painless, fast, five-year deal to stay in Toronto, to take him into his mid-30s with the Raptors.

“If you’re that franchise’s guy, and you’re the guy that they’ve been rolling with, and you’ve given that franchise everything you have, yeah, I think [the talks] should be easy,” Lowry told The Vertical. “I think it should be a situation where a guy shouldn’t have to talk to another team. DeMar didn’t have the chance to talk to another team. …

“For me, I think that at 12:01 a.m. on July 1 – something should be close. If not, I’m open to seeing what else is out there.”

DeRozan took what amounted to roughly a 9.9-percent cut off of his theoretical max, and even if Lowry did the same, the Raptors would be forced to pay substantially. Under the most recent estimates – estimates that are now believed to be somewhat conservative but are confused some by potential impending changes to the CBA – Lowry’s maximum contract from the Raptors would be a five-year, $192.9-million deal. The Raptors hold the hammer in being able to offer larger annual raises and a fifth season, so like with DeRozan, there’s a chance a deal can be struck for something between Lowry’s max with the team and with another franchise (roughly four years and $143.2 million). If Lowry were to take the same marginal haircut that DeRozan did, something in the five-year, $175.3-million area comes out.

That’s a staggering amount of money, even in the new cap economy, and re-signing Lowry near that amount brings risk and complications. Lowry will be 31 next summer, and while he doesn’t have a lot of early-career mileage on him, smaller point guards haven’t historically aged all that well (Lowry is perhaps generously listed at 6-feet) – as a rough gauge (using Win Shares for simplicity), John Stockton (three times) and Allen Iverson (once) are the only players 6-foot-1 or shorter to post a season as good as Lowry’s 2015-16 at the age of 32 or older. Even Lowry’s “down” 2014-15 is a level of excellence that’s been reached by 32-plus, 6-foot-1-and-under players just 22 times in the Basketball Reference database. Lowry has some things going for him, like low total mileage and deep range on a 3-point shot that allows him to spend time at the off-guard, but he also plays a very aggressive and physically demanding style, and his performance has lagged at times late in the season or in the playoffs, owing perhaps to injury or fatigue or variance, or some mix of all three.

small-pg

So no, signing Lowry to that kind of deal isn’t a slam dunk strictly from a basketball perspective. Doing so would put the Raptors in a position where they’re “locked in” to being very good, with limited flexibility to take the push to championship contender without the good fortune of a major trade or a prospect breaking through to the next level. It doesn’t preclude getting there, but it blocks off free agency as a road, and it gives the Raptors a somewhat narrow window to strike within as DeRozan and Lowry enter the back half of their aging curves together.

If you are of the mind that only a championship matters, and not the path to get there or the years surrounding it, it would be difficult to reconcile the reality of Lowry’s situation with re-signing him. I understand that completely, as someone who’s spent the bulk of my time writing about sports skewing cold and analytic. The same people who feel that way almost surely disagreed with re-upping DeRozan at his price, too. And if you’re of that mentality, you probably thought long and hard about a column entitled “Toronto Raptors Should Look At Trading Kyle Lowry” by friend-of-the-site Justin Rowan.

To be clear, Justin is a friend, has great hair, and is a smart basketball writer. He’s a Cavaliers fan, but it’s hard to blame someone from Winnipeg for any of their life choices (aside from Chris Jericho – The Gift of Jericho is literally the only positive export from Winnipeg; drink it in, man). And Justin reasons around the Lowry situation well, coming to the conclusion that the Raptors ” must assess what they could get in return for him,” and that “it would be irresponsible not to.” In this case, hesitant though I am to put a frown on his handsome face, I disagree pretty strongly with Justin.

Now, the way he’s worded his ultimate call-to-action is pretty hard to argue with. “Assess what they could get in return” is pretty benign, all things considered, especially if the Raptors could manage to navigate such discussions entirely in the shadows. (If Lowry were to find out, this argument is all for naught, because there’s a non-zero chance things would become contentious and render his free agency moot, thereby making Justin’s supposition a self-fulfilling prophecy.) By wording things as he did, Justin’s removed the biggest argument against his broader thesis – that the Raptors would never get anything resembling fair value in return for their superstar, assuming the Raptors would want to remain competitive and not blow the core up completely. There just aren’t enough teams out there with the assets for a win-win Lowry trade that would also a) think Lowry would push them to where they need to go, and b) wouldn’t have the exact same concerns as Toronto about Lowry’s impending free agency.

To take a step back from trade specifics, though, the Raptors just shouldn’t be looking to move on from Lowry, via trade or in free agency, however uncomfortable the numbers may be. Because more than just a championship matters in the larger picture.

By the end of this season, Lowry will cement his place as the best Raptor of all time. Those around him either forced their way out (Damon Stoudamire, Vince Carter), left for justifiable reasons (Chris Bosh, Tracy McGrady), or, a tier down, left on mutual enough terms (Amir Johnson, Jose Calderon). You could quibble between DeRozan and Lowry, given the former’s extended longevity, but Lowry’s peak has been as high as anyone to wear the jersey, he’s been at or near it for several years, and he’s been the team’s avatar, engine, heart, whatever, for the best three-year run in franchise history.

And that matters, and it matters a not-insignificant amount. The Raptors have reshaped their culture and identity entirely around a core led by Lowry, and the absence of Lowry would complicate a lot of that growth. Would a star even want to be traded to Toronto if it meant Lowry was outbound? Would Dwane Casey be able to foster the same king of buy-in without a once-notoriously hard-to-coach player working as an extension of his message and a leader, both by example and by voice? Would fans understand the sterile logic behind moving on from Lowry, without the franchise burning up all of the cache, excitement, and momentum they’ve built over the last three years? What would others on the roster think about what success with the Raptors means for them long-term?

The Raptors have talked a lot about establishing a winning culture, one that players sense immediately when they walk in the doors, with standards understood long before that point. They’ve also talked about turning Toronto into a destination franchise, leveraging Drake, the All-Star Game, the city’s overall momentum, and the recent success of the franchise as major selling points. The Raptors are now a franchise that competes – they’ll make the playoffs for a fourth year in a row for the first time ever this season – and they reward their players and staff for that success. Lowry has been a steward, a spokesman, and a symbol of all the growth that the franchise has undergone since Masai Ujiri took the reigns and accidentally held on to him.

Those things, while impossible to quantify, absolutely matter. I had a great chat with Jared Sullinger the other day about how coming to Toronto was a no-brainer for him, and he cited a lot of these reasons. Raptors fans always ask about signing Veteran X late in the year, or adding Veteran Y at the minimum like Golden State, San Antonio, and Cleveland can, and you need to offer more than just a roster spot to land those types of fish. Looking longer-term, the Raptors probably don’t want to be the franchise that everyone walked away from, only to alienate the stars who wanted to stay (I can’t imagine DeRozan would take a Lowry departure particularly well). They want to be a franchise that creates stars, with stars who measure the franchise and find it to be a suitable home.

On top of all of that, the path to legitimate contention, if that’s all that matters, isn’t any cleaner without Lowry. He’s the team’s best player, full stop, and nearly any move would be considered a step back to later try to take two forward. (I’d argue that there’s almost no potential Lowry leaving scenario in which it wouldn’t also necessitate moving DeRozan for the logic to hold). That road is long and paved with What Ifs and different risks than Lowry presents, whereas the Raptors with Lowry at least know they’re a second-tier team, a fortuitous break, trade, or development away.

I want a championship in Toronto eventually, too. I’m not willing to set the franchise back Ujiri’s entire tenure and make the road back to competing even harder in the process, all for an eventually-marginally-maybe-slightly-better long-term chance at getting there. Kyle Lowry Over Everything, including my normally cold black analytic heart.


  • LB

    Never

  • LB

    I don’t even like the idea Klow over everything

  • LB

    Kyle Lowry>Russell Westbrook #Facts

    • ramed nazored

      This isn’t the youtube comment section

  • Noelle

    Bravo Blake, on both the perspective and quality of writing. It figures that it took a townie to titivate this already excellent place. Despite permanent banishment from the forums, ha, I think I gotta join the patreon parade if it helps keep you here

  • Pud

    Blake you forgot about Winnipeg’s other achievement! Namely the cameo we had in the Simpsons. “We live here, what’s your excuse?” Lol.

    • Truth Teller

      How do you follow bball and not know Todd MacCulloch…

      Winnipeg makes National Geographic’s list of best trips on earth 2016

      But its still shit.

      • YamYam84

        Is that Nat Geo thing true? WOW if yes

        • Truth Teller

          Yes

    • YamYam84

      Second coldest city in the world with a population of over 500k – couldn’t pop Ulaan Bator though!

      Lived there for 18months and 2 summers. Great people. A couple of mountains in Manitoba would make Winnipeg better than Edmonton IMO

  • n8

    Just PAY THE MAN! It’s not like letting him walk will give us any cap room, his cap hold will be tiny compared to what superstars will cost these days. Every move we have made since Ujiri has arrived has revolved around a contention window right around this time, you can’t fold your hand after you’ve gone all in! Besides, i’m confident that Lowry’s situation is one that will allow him to play deeper into his 30’s at a high level. While he’s not a tall guard, he is still naturally very big and strong, very high IQ and with an effortless three point shot, none of those things will go until the day he retires. He’s also shown amazing dedication to taking care of his body and is in better shape now at 30 than he was at 26 when he came to Toronto. If he stays injury free, this contract will be more than worth it.

    • NewMan

      I can also see him training Van Vleet to be his understudy …

    • Fly Fresh

      That’s what’s being missed in this article. The fact that he’s been in better shape, now, than before. That helped him alot, already, and will help him even more, by allowing himself to keep up with younger guards, most of the time. I’m not worried about his health, so much, as I am about the money/flexibility his contract decision will affect the team. But I can’t completely shut out the players we have stashed that are PGs on our DL team. We have capable players that can help out, a bit.

  • Ak

    this is a grown man perspective you are describing here Blake. in case he will suffer a big drop off in productivity in the years 3/4, we enjoy this good-not-great team for 2/3 years, then strip the roster bare and start a shameless tank-a-ton. all while grossly overpaying the best raptor of all time. well with the mandatory salary floor in place they will have to pay someone anyways and i would much rather it be kyle lowry than have a jordan hill on a 1 year $7M deal.

  • Tragic Mugatu

    This is, as usual from Blake, a good and well-argued piece, but I don’t think it refutes the central premise behind moving Lowry, which is that there’s no scenario in which you aren’t gonna end up getting 70-cents-to-the-dollar for him. If you move him now, you won’t get superstar value for him and you provably only get market value for DD in the aftermath. If you move him a year or 2 into his new deal, the remaining years are a deterrent for possible takers. If you move him in the second half of his new deal, he’s potentially an albatross by then and you’re just trying to escape the contract, never mind get good value back.
    But if you don’t move him at all, you get bitten by that low exchange rate in wins rather than in assets– the likelihood that Lowry at 34 or 35 is producing 35 mil worth of wins seems pretty low. I’m not convinced that Lowry locks us in to being very good / second tier. I think it locks us in to being that for 2-3 years and then drops us down to “good” or even “average” for the next 2-3 years.
    To me this piece didn’t reckon enough with that: the idea that while keeping Lowry will contribute to the perception of the Raps as a model franchise, it can also harm that perception by eventually costing us that second-tier-team winning pedigree.

    FWIW I don’t agree with trying to move Lowry this year bc too many of the takers will have cap space to try to sign him outright in the summer (and bc I think we shouldtake a few more shots with this core). But it has to be acknowledged that in all likelihood we’ll have to pay the piper at some point in the next half-decade, and there’s no good way out of this situation unless either Lowry defies the odds and plays at an all-star level through age 35 or Masai nails every draft pick in 2017, 18, & 19.

    • CJT

      Not to mention that that 70 cents on the dollar is at 12 million. What do you get back for 12 million in this new economy? A bench scrub. Look at what people signed for last year to get a sense of what 12 million is worth right now. It’s simply a bad business move. Period.

      • Mike$

        If we were to trade him this year i’d assume it wouldn’t be only for a player (exactly like you state with no good contracts around 12 mil), it would be about the picks they’d package.

        We’d never get full value even with picks involved though so again it comes back to not being worth it. And with Lowry gone this team would still be playoff team so rebuilding would be near impossible.

        • distorsun

          1. Nobody will trade for Lowry (except maybe Colangelo) when they can sign him on July 1st. If he is traded, Tor wouldn’t get nothing close to fair value.

          2. Lowry will get paid like Demar: end of story; only way this doesn’t happen, it’s if he feels insulted by the raps offer.

          There is nothing else to entertain at this point.

          • Mike$

            Agreed. Was just talking what ifs.

            • distorsun

              i know.
              But unless something drastic happen, this convo is more about just having fun with wild scenarios. The business reality is quite a different one.

              And by the way, my exception at point #2 also applies to the league’s MVP ….who will be an UFA at the same time as Klow…. (just saying). Life comes at you fast in the NBA.

      • Tragic Mugatu

        I’m not using “70 cents on the dollar” that literally lol

        • Wild-ling #1

          Funny. 🙂

        • CJT

          my point wasn’t your 70 cents on the dollar, but more so that Lowry is getting paid 12 million and 12 million even with picks doesn’t equate in to a whole lot with the new reality of the NBA financial climate. It’s a bad business decision to trade him for what will amount to a mediocre player.

          • Tragic Mugatu

            Yeah I know, I was just riffing.

            FWIW though I don’t agree with you that 12 mil is a barrier to getting good return, since all first-contract guys and all second-contract guys who signed before 2016 are still within striking distance of 12 or 15 mil (Bebe as filler), and Lowry could be packaged with another starter to get a full-priced superstar, possibly with a pick or young player coming our way to help rebalance roster.

            Imo the real problem for a trade is still the deterrent of receiving team having to pay him big or see him walk

    • Mike$

      I would argue the best chance for success for the raps in the later years of Lowry’s contract is to hope he evolves into more of a facilitator. Not even looking at future drafts it seems like we have a few guys ready for more of an offensive roll. JV will be entering his prime part way into Lowry’s contract and we still have some unknowns in ross and powell on the offensive side. We don’t even know how JV would handle a bigger role yet.

      Jv seems the most likely to be ready for a bigger role and if he can take it the raps might not take a huge step back when lowry slows done. Lowry can continue to an offensive threat but lets other players get more touches.

      Kind of like how the spurs used to rely massively on tony parker but once he hit a certain age they started giving lenord more touches. The offence ran differently but continued to be great. We don’t have anyone like kawi but the offence might not slow down so much if lowry shifts a few of his possessions to teammates that could keep being as efficient with a little higher volume

      • Tragic Mugatu

        The thing with the Spurs though is that their success while transitioning eras was enabled specifically by their key players taking pay cuts. They’re able to rely less on Parker not just bc they found Kawhi, but also bc they could afford to retain Mills & Green and add Aldridge.

        It’s a different story if they’d been stuck paying their aging big three 15-20m each for all of the past few seasons and into next season. They were also bailed out hugely by the cap rising just as Parker’s value declined, so that his decrease in production was matched by a decrease in his cap hit

        • Mike$

          Yeah true, but players stepping up to fill production should help some. Its not like if Lowrys points per game drop by 10 when he turns 33 the raptors will average 10 less points a game. Most of the time that production just ends up somewhere else. A really good example is when we had rudy gay. The season he left us he was averaging close to 20 a game. With him gone the raps easily filled in his possessions by giving the entire roster more shots, and it happened more efficiently.

          This won’t happen with Lowry because he’s just so much better than Rudy, but there should be players that can fill in some of his production almost as effeciently. The team won’t be quite as good, but its not like we’ll fall off a cliff either. James is 2 years older, Lowry just needs to keep his play high enough to out last him. While our deeper roster picks up more slack for lowery than the cavs can for james we should close the gap on them

          • Tragic Mugatu

            don’t think Lowry can outlast James because:
            –forwards usually outlast PGs
            –James has the size to go fulltime PF when he loses his speed
            –James is probably one of the most durable players in history

            Plus although the Raps have a better current bench, Cleveland will always have a pipeline of cheap veterans so we need to beat them pretty significantly on the drafting-and-development front where we have the advantage of more picks and better scouting

            • Mike$

              Yeah agreed forwards especially PF’s outlast point guards but james is 2 years older. If lowry makes it to 33 James should be slowing down at 35 when considering how young he started playing. But again like you said he’s crazy durable so there could be a good chance he lasts longer than 35. And since he could play a lot more PF his poor 3pt shooting might not bother him as much as if he stayed SF when he slows down. Damn after looking at your points im way less sure about lowry outlasting him even though he’s 2 years younger.

              Either way though we still need lowry even if James doesn’t slow down just incase someone on their injury prone team does get injured. Treadmilling or even slightly declining isn’t a bad thing if you are 1 injury (from some fragile players on the cavs) away from the finals

              • Tragic Mugatu

                Definitely agree on your point about plateauing being okay if you’re in striking distance of the Finals if an injury crops up. That’s pretty much my stance on this raps team’s next few years

                Also just remembered another advantage James has over Lowry: he can coast the regular season, vs Lowry keeps wearing himself down from having to will the team to an extra 5 wins every year

                • Mike$

                  This finally seems like the year Lowry won’t have to do that. Honestly DD has shown no matter how much you increase his usage he’ll stay at the same relative efficiency, its one of the things that separates him from a lot of guys around his level (offensively). And then there has been the talk of JV getting a few more touches a game, along with Cory being a proven back up (which he wasn’t last year). I think Ross might be ready for having the ball in his hands a little more with how much tighter his handle looks (though it wouldn’t be the first time i felt that way about him to start a season).

                  Even if none of those guys can step into a bigger role to let Lowry rest, the coaching staff has already proven themself in the regular season. Them losing those 5 wins to play Lowry less and save him for the playoffs is also a very real possibility.

            • Wild-ling #1

              I’m not sure the Cavs will always out-compete us for cheap veterans. Have you heard what Joakim Noah had to say about Cleveland? Love the guy. 🙂 Noah’s parents are French and Swiss. I think Masai is wise to establish Toronto as the international farnchise. If we remain credible, we’ll be ok., I think. 🙂 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vpr_KaaRjW0

              • Tragic Mugatu

                Classic Noah banter right there. I still think there’ll be a steady stream of older players who like playing with Lebron more than they hate the city, but you make a good point about Toronto becoming more & more established as a good spot for international players

      • YamYam84

        True that. Lowry has a great 3pt shot, if he can hit the three consistently and facilitate then we make do with him being a turnstile on D (which Nash was bulk of his career and especially later).

        After watching Gravy Vasquez play D for the Raptors I’d pay KLOW $35m at 36 to be a lockdown defender off the bench

    • Coulj

      Great post! you are absolutely correct in your analysis, the franchise is in a catch 22. I also think that Masai who is risk averse, and will end signing Lowry for whatever $ he wants.
      We all have seen how Lowry’s game is affected when he is injured. Lowry is mainly effective, when can make hustle plays, rebound, take charges, Lowry is not Chris Paul or Steve Nash , he’s not a passing guard getting older will be tough on.

    • Noelle

      If fans at RR are thinking ahead to 5 years from now, do you not think Masai is too? Likely not trying to get into nitty gritty details as fans, but in a bigger picture, more general sense. From day 1 he’s spoken of his direction being toward establishing a franchise foundation toward long term and sustainable growth and success, which has been reflected in virtually everything he’s done.

      “. I’m not convinced that Lowry locks us in to being very good / second
      tier. I think it locks us in to being that for 2-3 years and then drops
      us down to “decent” or even “average” for the following 2-3 years.”

      This train of thoght assumes the make-up of the team otherwise stays the same as it is now, and that there’s nobody here now, nor will there be for 5 years, that is capable of picking up the slack. This is incredibly short sighted, given that we don’t even have any idea what the make-up of this team will be in 1 year. Whether it be improvement from players we already have (lots of developing prospects already), trades, diamond in the rough draft picks, which MU has demonstrated he and his management team are quite capable of, or……. any number of scenarios that the make-up of this team can change over the next 5 years, while KL not only delivers on court productivity for X years, but contributes to the growth in professionalism and skills of players coming up through the ranks. IMO, silly to think Masai is working in a vacuum of the team staying the same, while KL declines, if he does significantly

      • Tragic Mugatu

        I think I maybe gave the wrong impression by repeating Blake’s “locking in” language. Like you’re saying, I think it’s too hard to predict what exact level a team will be on in a few years when so much can change. I’m talking more about an expectable baseline of success. Ie If we have Lowry, we can expect at least x level of success. My point was just that I think it makes more sense to think that that Lowry-guaranteed baseline will decline as Lowry declines, rather than staying the same as now for the whole contract.

        There are definitely people on here who make super specific, pessimistic predictions like “resigning Demar / Kyle will guarantee we never make it past the second round” or whatever. I don’t agree with going that far, so I can’t blame you for criticizing if it did sound like I was doing that.

        • Wild-ling #1

          Bravo. 🙂 Nicely said. 🙂

  • Dunkenstein

    Lowry for Cousins?

    • Mike$

      It would just create a huge hole in the team. Not even looking at the fact the kings would never do this, it wouldn’t make our team better.

    • distorsun

      non sense.

  • disqus_vn04D92AQe

    Not sure if people appreciate how ridiculously (& uncommonly) good John Stockton (and Steve Nash) were well into their 30’s. Man if Lowry could follow a similar career arc…

    • Sinbad

      Stockton will never get the credit he deserves. He might be the embodiment of a “system player” given how he could run the Jazz motion offense in his sleep, but he was one of the greatest ball-handlers and passers in NBA history, and a gnat defensively.

      • Dunkenstein

        As the NBA all time leading assists and steal leader, that is insanity.

      • distorsun

        And also a great shooter.
        He probably should’ve shot the ball more when you think about it.

  • Jcrex

    Time to move Lowry. I expect him to have another solid season this year but he will start to decline rapidly soon. 31 is a old man in basketball try to think of guards over 31 who make a allstar team. Chris Paul, Steve Nash? Yes but they are top 10 all time pg’s. Lowry already is not a great athlete can’t see how he will be able to guard the young bucks in a couple years. Paying Lowry upwards of 25m+ for 4-5 years will be a huge mistake. It’s not harping on Lowry personally it’s just a fact pg’s talent drops off a cliff after 31. Yes he will still be a good player but if he’s making a max contract he needs to be better than good

    • Tragic Mugatu

      4/100 or 105 would be a pretty good deal tbh. Going rate for an all-star in 17-18 will be 35m so if you’re getting a bargain on that level of production the first year you can afford to have the later years be closer to average starter level

    • Sinbad

      CP3 and Nash get brought up ad nauseum whenever Lowry’s age is brought up. They are exceptions to the rule of how PG’s age after 30. And neither of them throw their bodies around like Lowry is asked to on a nightly basis, though Kyle has cut down on taking charges. It’s a tough decision, and I agree that he would need to be better than above average or just good on a contract that large.

      • Jcrex

        And the difference is nash, cp3, Stockton are top 10 all time pg’s, first ballot hof level players. We all no Lowry will never sniff the hof. They have the natural great talent that translates at a older age. Lowry isn’t as talented he’s more of a very hard worker and that doesn’t last as long as talent. It’s the superstars who last after 30, the large majority players, even alot allstars decline to just good players very fast. Ie. Vince Carter, McGrady etc. Tony Parker is a good example. Still good but not nearly worth a near max deal

  • justsayin

    With Lowry and DeRozan you’re not just paying for on-court production. Both of these guys are incredibly mature and grounded. They’ve shown themselves to be the perfect players to help establish the kind of culture that the GM and the coach have been aiming for. They’re great examples for every draft pick that gets selected by the team for the next 5 years. They’re the most level-headed and consistent guys this team has probably ever had.

  • Wild-ling #1

    That $175M figure is staggering. And I DO think it’s too much for a 32-37 year old point guard. So while I don’t think, for a minute, we should be entertaining the notion of not paying Kyle a LOT of money … I hope Masai and Kyle can agree on something a little closer to what DeMar got. 5 years, $140-145 would make him the highest paid player, give him the term and factor in a possible decline in his latter years …

    We were hoping for something of a hometown discount with DeMar – and we got one. Kyle is really smart. He’s beloved in this market. I hope he feels at home here. And I hope he doesn’t try to put Masai right up against the wall .. and try to take the franchise for every nickel …

    • Sinbad

      There’s one problem with this. Lowry has been playing on a far below market value contract for the last 4 years. He’s had a front row seat to every half decent player in the NBA getting paid. He’s also the best player on the Raptors, and its not close. If he were to leave…well, it would devastate the team, the organization, and the city. And he knows it. He has all the leverage. Masai doesn’t have any, beyond the ability to offer a 5th year. And I can’t imagine his agent would endorse taking less money than the market would dictate.

      • wes mantooth

        I disagree about his current contract. When LOWRY came to toronto he was a troubled guard that had to compete for the starting job. Toronto rejuvenated his whole career. When he signed that deal it was what he was worth.
        I don’t think he has all the leverage either. He’s the best player on a really good team here. It’s a great situation. I think he’ll get payed based on how he performs this year. It’ll be a no brainer for MU either way. If he’s great then it’ll be Obv , and if he doesn’t then MU can decide. We have options at the 1 spot to step in.

        • Wild-ling #1

          Yeah. Different valuations are certainly possible. And one doesn’t need to use all one’s (perceived) leverage – a lot of talented people have outsmarted themselves that way … Dion Waiters sure miscalculated, didn’t he? 🙂

    • Noelle

      The worry warts will do their thing, because the easiest thing to do in sport is prognosticate what will be (in their minds only) in 5 years. Easy because nobody can argue what none of knows shit about.

      Having ranted that, I’ve been thinking all along that Kyle will very likely settle for just about exactly what DD got. Fans, some at least, may think Kyle is head and shoulders over DeMar, but everything points to those two believing they’re on equal footing in leading and carrying this team, and don’t want to saddle the franchise with crazy contracts when they want so much to continue this path to bringing Toronto/Canada a winner. Mark my words: he’ll get close to the same as DeMar, and it’s already been discussed.

      • Wild-ling #1

        Agreed. And I strongly agree with your take on DeMar and Kyle being co-leaders – and I am constantly annoyed with those who insist on slighting Demar (which I think it is) by saying “Lowry is obviously the best Raptor”. Seems a little like constntly pointing out that one of your kids is obviously better looking – even if there’s truth in it (though there’s clearly subjectivity in this, too), why bang on about it? I think it’s unhelpful, tactless and … slaggy, . 🙂

  • wes mantooth

    The good news here is that LOWRY is gonna have to ball out this year to warrant that huge contract. He’s made his intentions clear , but there’s still a season in between 12:01 .. This puts the raps and MU in a great position. It’s their choice. MU’s response was perfect “we go as LOWRY goes ” he’s a winner and we wanna win ” but didn’t committ, cause he obv doesn’t have to.
    If the raps have a healthy season with their best player basically having to put his money where his mouth is , the raps should again have a great season that will only help cement them as contenders. Toronto will once again be the ️️hip place to look at for free agents etc..
    Im all for paying LOWRY if he has another great year and the raps go far again but if he doesn’t and they don’t , MU is in a great position to justify letting him go or making a stingy offer. Lowrys age will be a factor that works for MU in both scenarios.
    We do have assets to trade as well in order to keep him and still improve the team.

  • troy

    I stopped reading at 5 years at 192,,,this is getting ridiculous ! I get it, its the market, but almost a fifth of a billion dollars to play basketball?? wow

  • Stephen

    So Justin is on The List?

    • BlakeMurphy

      Absolutely. First time he shows his face in Toronto, he’s gonna get….