Although negotiations cannot officially begin until July, the general perception is that the Toronto Raptors and free-agent-to-be Kyle Lowry have mutual interest in agreeing to a new contract.
This is not at all surprising, considering Lowry guided the team to a franchise-record 48 wins, the Atlantic Division crown, the first playoff appearance since 2008, and within a bucket of advancing to a second-round matchup with the Miami Heat.
Starting point guards are not cheap, especially those coming off breakout seasons. As such, the Raptors will have to make a substantial offer to Lowry if they want him to be a part of their future.
My guess is that Lowry will command a salary somewhere in the range of $60 million over five years. An advantage in favor of the Raptors is that other suitors are limited to offering the 28-year-old a maximum term of four years — that is unless a sign-and-trade agreement was to be reached.
Given Lowry’s All-Star caliber performance in 2013-14, with career highs in points per game (17.9), assists per game (7.4), and 3-pointers made (190), coupled with his contribution to team success, there is going to be plenty of competition for his services on the open market.
While in the end I think it is most likely that Lowry returns to the Raptors, here are five possible destinations that could make sense, at least from a basketball standpoint.