NBA

The Toronto Raptors Could Soon Be Saying Goodbye to Their $30 Million All-Star

Kyle Lowry has been a staple of the Toronto Raptors franchise for nine years. He’s become a perennial All-Star since moving to Toronto in 2012, and he helped the Raptors to their lone NBA championship in 2019.

Lowry has become the face of the franchise and the savior for a city deprived of NBA success for nearly three decades, but the 34-year-old point guard could be headed for a swift divorce with the team that made him a star.

Kyle Lowry’s Raptors career

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Kyle Lowry had a solid NBA career before he arrived in Toronto, but it took off in 2012 when he joined the Raptors. Before 2012, Lowry averaged 9.95 points per game combined between his time with the Memphis Grizzlies and the Houston Rockets.

But in just his second year in Toronto, Lowry upped his average to a career-high 17.9 points per game. He also recorded a career-high 7.6 assists per game in 2013-14 playing alongside DeMar DeRozan and Rudy Gay.

The next season, Lowry became an NBA All-Star for the first time. He was named an All-Star for the next five seasons in a row, too, and in 2019, he captained the Raptors to their first-ever NBA title. After bringing Toronto to championship glory and leading the team to the playoffs in seven consecutive seasons, it seemed as if Lowry would play out the rest of his career out in the city that made him a champion.

Well, that might not be the case any more.

The Toronto Raptors could soon part ways with Kyle Lowry

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After Kawhi Leonard left the Raptors to join the Los Angeles Clippers last offseason, Toronto hasn’t been the same team. The Raptors still made the playoffs last season and even won their first-round series against the Brooklyn Nets, but they were bounced in the second round by the Boston Celtics in seven games.

Things have taken a turn for the worst this season. The Raptors started the year 2-8 and have been lucky to battle back to 10-13 through 23 games. Toronto currently sits outside of the Eastern Conference playoff picture in ninth place.

With Lowry, now 34 years of age, slowly inching out of his prime and the team’s window for contention closing fast, the Raptors are reportedly mulling a Lowry trade in the coming weeks.

According to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report, there is a “portion of Raptors personnel” that believes the team needs to trade Lowry before the March 25 deadline. Lowry is set to become a free agent after this season once his $30.5 million contract runs out, and the Raptors don’t want to see him walk out the door without getting anything in return.

“There’s a time capsule for everybody and everything,” one Western Conference executive told Bleacher Report, “and it’s probably just time to move on.”

Which teams could be involved in the Kyle Lowry sweepstakes?

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There’s no shortage of contenders who could use a veteran presence like Lowry in their locker room for the rest of the season.

The Clippers are prime candidates in need of a distributor who could run the offense around Leonard and Paul George. The Miami Heat have also shown recent interest in the 34-year-old point guard, according to Bleacher Report. Miami has struggled out of the gates this season, but they still have a talented enough roster to make it back to the NBA Finals, especially if they can add Lowry to the rotation.

And what about Lowry’s hometown team, the Philadelphia 76ers? Philly currently sits in first place in the Eastern Conference, and the Villanova product could give them another ball handler to add to their crunch-time lineup.

Don’t be surprised to see any or all of these teams make some phone calls over the next couple of weeks.

All stats courtesy of Basketball Reference