Thinking back on all of the time and words we have devoted to conjecture over the past month or so, simply trying to get a gauge or a lead on that tease of a day that attracts so much more attention than it’s worth, we can’t help but think it’s something of a fool’s errand.
But can you blame us? No one should be captivated by the trade deadline; it is consistently a dud, but every one is. Every year there are big names bantered about with an air of optimism or possibility when we turn in to the nightly news shows, but it ends up being a letdown. We can’t necessarily blame the GMs, either. Don’t they always think that they can get a better deal in the summer anyway? That’s a tired narrative, we think, but one that isn’t going anywhere. We suppose the smart GMs are the ones who think that, while it may be smart to trade a disenfranchised player on the verge of free agency, there is always time to change their mind. If they can buy some extra months, maybe the player will see or something that he missed before. Sound familiar, Flip Saunders?
Either way, we can look back on the speculation and know that it was merely that. Now the focus can move away from what might happen with personnel to what kind of noise they might make moving forward. At least for the playoff teams. The bottom feeders will continue to jostle for position in the lottery and the speculation can continue on who they can get to make them relevant again.
The Toronto Raptors left no doubt about their intentions for the remainder of this season. They didn’t trade Kyle Lowry despite getting what were reported as “serious” offers from the Knicks and maybe others. We stated a number of times that we never believed that Lowry would be traded with the lofty position that the Raptors are in. If GM Masai Ujiri heard anything certain about Lowry not wanting to stay in Toronto after the season, we are sure that he would have traded Lowry for a reasonable package and justified the entire thing by saying “it was get something now or get nothing later” under the overriding idea that everyone knew the Raptors could not beat the Heat or the Pacers in the East this season.
We have to surmise that Uriji did not hear this. According to Ujiri on Friday, he made some statements like “Obviously we didn’t do anything with Kyle because we view him highly in this organization,” and “People are going to say it’s a contract year. In my opinion, the kid has played all out.” It was also reported that Ujiri met with Lowry’s agent yesterday and “there has been positive communication on both sides, both have been upfront with each other.”
While these are not glowing statements of commitment, it appears that he likes where he is in the process and how this season plays out will have significant bearing on any decisions that are made in the summer. Unless we hear anything to the contrary, we are going to spend the rest of the season assuming that Lowry is happy to be in Toronto and excited about how the rest of the season unfolds. But we won’t be afraid to assume, either, that Lowry is going to expect to be fairly compensated based on a career year and an improved reputation.
Starting today, though, it’s about basketball for the Raptors. They lead the Atlantic Division and currently hold the No. 3 seed in the East. They have a young core that will have a chance to showcase their potential on a big stage come the playoffs. We see it as a domino effect and that success will breed good things, including a more likely commitment from Kyle Lowry. We still feel that is a far more prudent plan than a blatant tank, an apathetic fan base, and a shot in the dark for a transcendent player which may not exist.