Raptors decide not to trade Lowry
The Raptors didn't deal their franchise point guard ahead of Thursday's 3 p.m. ET trade deadline, president Masai Ujiri told reporters, according to TSN's Josh Lewenberg.
"Honestly we didn't know which way it was going to go. ... We came in today looking at both possible ways," Ujiri said about deadline negotiations involving Lowry.
"To be honest, I viewed him as somebody that could go and put a stamp on what you're trying to do this year. I know if he went to those places, I know what (that could've done), I've lived it, I've seen it," Ujiri continued.
"If I valued him too much, hey, that's what I believe in," Ujiri added.
Lowry will now become an unrestricted free agent when his $30-million contract expires at the season’s end. However, Toronto will look to improve upon its 18-26 record before then, currently placing the Tampa-based Raptors 11th in the Eastern Conference - three games behind the eighth-seeded Boston Celtics.
The 6-foot-tall point guard, whose 35th birthday is Thursday, remains an impactful player in his 15th season. Lowry is averaging 17.4 points, 7.5 assists, 5.6 rebounds, and 1.1 steals in nearly 35 minutes per game, with his efficacy from beyond the arc standing at just under 40% on the year.
The Philadelphia native joined Toronto from the Houston Rockets during the 2012 offseason via trade for journeyman wing Gary Forbes and the first-round pick, which eventually became big man Steven Adams.
The 76ers wound up bolstering their backcourt by reportedly adding Oklahoma City Thunder's George Hill, while the Heat pulled off a trade for two-time All-Star Victor Oladipo, most recently of the Rockets, just before the trade window closed.
For their part, the Raptors appear to be re-arranging their roster in anticipation of a major move. Canada's team dealt breakout wing Norman Powell to the Portland Trail Blazers, then swapped reserves Matt Thomas and Terence Davis for a second-round pick each in a pair of late and separate moves.
Lowry’s first eight seasons with the franchise resulted in tremendous year-to-year progression for Toronto. From perpetual lottery club to perennial 50-win Eastern Conference titan, the Lowry-Raptors marriage hit its peak with the organization’s championship triumph in 2019. The Finals victory was a repudiation of the longhand belief that the NBA’s brightest stars wouldn’t embrace one of its northernmost outposts - and the only club located outside of the United States.
Overall, Lowry has averaged 17.6 points, 7.1 assists, and 4.9 rebounds per game with Toronto in 592 regular-season appearances. The veteran guard was selected as an All-Star each year between 2015-20 and earned an All-NBA Third Team selection in the 2015-16 season.
Lowry will continue to etch his name into the Raptors' record books. The Villanova product is currently the team's all-time leader in assists, steals, 3-pointers, and triple-doubles (16 - more than every other player combined) and is second only to longtime former backcourt mate DeMar DeRozan in games played and points scored.
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