Kyle Lowry should've been next out the door as the team shifted toward a rebuild. The Raptors reportedly had an agreement in place with the New York Knicks to trade him away before owner James Dolan nixed the deal.
“I thought I was gone. It was business,” Lowry told The Athletic's Eric Koreen. “I was ready for my new journey. There was no joke. I was packed and ready to go.”
The trade that never happened changed the trajectory of the 2013-14 season and the franchise, with the Raptors making their first of five consecutive playoff appearances.
“I think me and DeMar (DeRozan) sat there and said, ‘It’s on us. Either we’re going to make it or (the front office will) break it,’” Lowry said. “‘Either we’re going to make this work or they’re going to blow it up even more. I told (Terrence Ross), ‘Listen, this is your chance to start to play. DeMar, you’ve got to pick it up. I’ve got to pick it up.’ That’s what I said. It wasn’t my voice (being so important). It was just me telling the guys the truth. It was what it was. For some guys it was time to step up, or I know I ain’t gonna be here or this (collection of players) ain’t gonna be here. It was the truth. Everything I said at that time was the truth.”
Lowry doesn't believe the Gay trade affected his career. But his head coach, Nick Nurse, thinks otherwise.
“It cleared up Kyle’s role. Sometimes he didn’t know whether to go to DeMar or Rudy or DeMar or Rudy,” Nurse said. “And now it was like, ‘OK, there’s DeMar, and now I’ve got to shoulder some of this,’ which he certainly needed to do. He was (passing) one way or the other, and it never left much (offence) for him.”
The four-time All-Star has developed into one of the Raptors' undisputed leaders while asserting himself offensively. Entering Friday night's action, he's averaging 14.6 points and a league-high 10.1 assists per contest this season.