With news leaking last night that the Toronto Raptors gave Dwane Casey an additional three years as the head coach of the team, the next big domino to fall for the Raptors is what they will do with all-pro point guard Kyle Lowry.
Having the ability to pick what team he plays for is an opportunity Lowry has craved since he entered the NBA.
It’s also likely his final chance to sign a big contract due to his age so he needs to take that into account when he’s making his decision.
As much as it will pain fans of the team – and probably the front office as they dangle in the wind – Lowry’s next contract is something that will take until at least mid-July to sort itself out.
Lowry has earned the right to test the market after playing for three teams during his eight years in the NBA. Very few organizations, coaches or teammates have been loyal to him, so he doesn’t need to be loyal to an organization of a fanbase.
Granted, the fans in Toronto love Lowry, but the Raptors are an organization that would have traded Lowry to the New York Knicks if the Knicks hadn’t gotten cold feet. The idea that Lowry should be loyal to Toronto is laughable.
A number of teams – the Los Angeles Lakers and Sacramento Kings pop to mind – have a need for a top flight point guard and could have the cap room to offer Lowry a rich contract.
The Raptors need to be patient and see what the market dictates while also keeping an eye on other pieces like Reggie Jackson (restricted free agent) and Isaiah Thomas (unrestricted free agent).
Both players are young, talented point guards who may come cheaper than Lowry.
Jackson has played well in a reserve role for the Oklahoma City Thunder and he played well in a starting role while filling in for an injury Russell Westbrook. He has a strong bond with Kevin Durant but he has also stated a desire this summer to try to secure a starting role via free agency.
It’s also worth noting that Oklahoma City probably won’t match an offer of more than $8 million per season due to already being pushed close to the salary cap.
Both Jackson and Thomas serve as solid Option B’s for the Raptors. Or, if Lowry’s asking price gets too steep, they may serve as better options than retaining Lowry.
The first option for the Raptors remains keeping Lowry; it’s just a matter of seeing what the market dictates this summer.