If I could have it my way, Kyle Lowry would play out the rest of his career in Toronto.
Lowry, 33, is now entering the years of regression. Don’t think I’m saying he’s washed up, because he is not. He just helped lead the Raptors to their first NBA title in franchise history. He finished fifth among point guards in real plus mins last year. Ahead of players like, Kyrie Irving and Kemba Walker. Lowry still has a few good years left so let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
Lowry is entering his contract year alongside Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol so in turn trade ideas have been a hot topic in Toronto. But in my opinion a trade shouldn’t even be considered. Here’s why:
The Raptors are still a top four team in the East
Everyone has dismissed the Toronto Raptors since losing Kawhi Leonard in free agency. Yes, we lost our best player but we still have the same core (minus Danny Green who also left to Los Angeles). While the Raptors won’t win the East they are still talented enough to fight for home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
The Bucks, 76ers, and Celtics will all most likely finish above the Raptors this season. That’s a given. The biggest threat to the Raptors falling out of the top four is the Indiana Pacers. The Brooklyn Nets improved but until Kevin Durant returns in the 2020/21 season, they aren’t a threat. ESPN projected the Magic to have more wins than the Raptors this season, but let’s be honest, that’s not happening.
Toronto won’t repeat the 58 wins they had last season but getting close to 50 isn’t out of the question.
Cap space won’t be a issue
At the end of this season a lot of money will be coming off of the books. Lowry ($34,996,296), Gasol ($25,595,700), and Ibaka ($23,271,605) are all on expiring deals as I mentioned earlier. That’s a combined $83,863,601 in salary that won’t be on the payroll in 2020/21.
Meanwhile, Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet will also be free agents at the end of next season (Siakam will be a RFA). Siakam will see a dramatic pay raise from the $2,351,839 he will make this season. He will most likely see close to the max. VanVleet on the other hand will make $9,346,153 this upcoming season. While he will see a pay raise it won’t be the raise Siakam will get. I expect VanVleet to get somewhere around the 15 million range on his next contract.
Lowry’s next contract will not be top-10 in the NBA like it is now. Lowry is currently the ninth highest paid player in the NBA. Teams around the NBA have seen in recent times the mistakes made by giving point guards in their early to mid 30s big money contracts. *cough* Chris Paul *cough*.
While I think it’s likely Lowry could receive around 20 million per year on a short term deal that is doable for the Raptors. That salary figure would put him in the Malcolm Brogdon ($21,250,000) or Eric Bledsoe ($17,500,000) range.
Paying Lowry in the $18-20 million range through his mid 30s would keep us competitive in the East. As well as have him be a role-model to any young players we bring in during our “re-tool” period.
Lowry is Toronto
Lowry defines the Toronto Raptors franchise, he’s been with Toronto since the ugly 3D painted baselines. He has been a Raptor for seven seasons now, and all the hard work he has done finally paid off this past June.
Let’s repay him by keeping him and his family in Toronto until he decides to lace them up for the last time. Then we’ll proudly raise the number 7 up into the rafters of the Scotiabank Arena.
Kyle Lowry is a Raptors legend, and he should play the rest of his career here.