At the time that the Toronto Raptors traded Rudy Gay early in the 2013-14 NBA season, it seemed like a formality that other pieces with the Raptors were surely going to be dealt between then and the Feb. 20 NBA Trade Deadline. One of the most obvious pieces to potentially be dealt was point guard Kyle Lowry.
Then Lowry started playing out of his mind. Lowry is in the midst of the best season of his career, averaging 16.6 points, 7.4 assists, 4.4 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game on 42.9 percent shooting and 39.1 percent three-point shooting. Moreover, his phenomenal play since the Gay trade has propelled the Raptors to third place in the Eastern Conference.
Given Lowry’s play this season and the success that Toronto has enjoyed as a direct result, Lowry being traded in the nine days before the deadline seems highly unlikely. As David Aldridge of NBA.com reports, though, Lowry’s future with the Raptors is far from certain even if he isn’t traded.
Lowry becomes an unrestricted free agent at the conclusion of the 2013-14 season and the Raptors would obviously like to keep him considering how he’s performed for this year. The issue lies in the fact that his performance this season might drive up his price to somewhere around the four-year, $40 million range—which is an amount the Raptors aren’t willing to shell out for Lowry’s services according to Aldridge.
It’s possible that Lowry could sign with Toronto for less and could receive less on the open market if there’s hesitancy to pay him so handily based mostly off of one season’s success. However, the Raptors are undoubtedly going to have to pay Lowry if they’re going to keep him around beyond this season.
As Aldridge stated in his report, Lowry is almost surely going to stay in Toronto this year barring a hefty package being offered in return before the deadline. Beyond that, though, the Raptors and new general manager Masai Ujiri face the difficult task of trying to keep a valuable piece and also trying to stay flexible in regards to the salary cap. We’ll see over the next week if that looming decision plays a part in any deadline action.