Heading into the offseason, the No. 1 priority on general manager Masai Ujiri’s list was re-signing unrestricted free agent Kyle Lowry. One day after Canada Day, the Toronto Raptors got their man.
According to Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski, the Raptors have re-signed Lowry to a four-year, $48 million deal. After the third year of his new contract, Lowry will have an early termination option.
Despite DeMar DeRozan making the All-Star team last season and Lowry playing the part of the snub, anyone who watched Toronto basketball last season knows he was the catalyst behind the Raptors making the playoffs for the first time since 2008. Well, maybe you could make the argument that Rudy Gay was the real catalyst after being traded away to the Sacramento Kings, but you get the point. Lowry was the rock of the Raptors, and now he will continue to be that rock at least for a few more years.
And with Kyle Lowry re-signing, Raptors fans breathe a Masai of relief.
— Sreekar Sreekarović (@sreekyshooter) July 3, 2014
It wasn’t guaranteed Lowry would end up in Toronto. The Houston Rockets and Miami Heat aggressively pursued the 28-year-old free agent point guard. The Heat were hoping they could entice him with the prospect of playing with the Big Three if they had just enough cap space to sign him to a deal. However, it turns out Lowry seemed to like where he was just fine.
Kyle Lowry tells Yahoo: “Toronto is just the right place for me.” — Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 3, 2014
Even though Kyle Lowry isn’t a big name superstar, re-signing him represents a huge victory for the franchise. Raptors fans know better than most how it feels for big name stars and free agents to choose to leave Toronto for greener (or red, white and bluer) pastures. But now that Lowry has chosen to remain a member of the Raptors for the next few years, he’ll be a popular and crucial cornerstone in Toronto basketball moving forward.
This past season, Lowry was the East’s biggest All-Star snub after having the best year of his career. Averaging 17.9 points, 7.4 assists, 4.7 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game. He also shot 38 percent from three-point range, orchestrated Toronto’s offense and harassed opposing point guards up and down the floor like a pitbull’s shadow.
This is a huge day for Canadian basketball, especially when you consider Lowry chose to take the money to stay in Toronto rather than leave for Miami to try and play with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. Watching the Raptors host their first playoff series in years was electric enough, but this re-signing may usher in a new era for Toronto basketball.