The big question on many Toronto Raptors fans minds is whether the team’s free agent starting point guard will return next season. Kyle Lowry has become a team leader, mentor and friend to those in the Raptors locker room and a needed star player in the eyes of the team’s fans. Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment President and CEO Tim Leiweke has virtually guaranteed Lowry will be back, but this is one of those times when the final decision will not rest in his hands. However, it’s hard to read into what’s been happening and believe Lowry will be signing anywhere except Toronto this summer.
DeMar DeRozan shows absolutely zero signs of concern about other NBA teams making offers to Lowry . When asked about it, DeRozan’s answer was short, sweet and brought a laugh from the media.
“No,” DeRozan said. “Because.”
It was hard not to notice the nonverbal communication from DeRozan prompting this comment from the media.
“DeMar, I don’t mean to put you on the spot, but everything about your body language is telling us that Kyle Lowry has assured you he is coming back.”
“I didn’t say that,” DeRozan responded. “I didn’t say he was. I didn’t say he wasn’t. I just said I wasn’t worried about it.”
DeRozan absolutely didn’t look worried about it and he started off telling everyone just how important Lowry’s return was.
“(It’s) definitely important,” DeRozan said earlier. “We wouldn’t have been here if it wasn’t for Kyle.”
Lowry is letting his agent do his talking when it comes to committing for next season, but his goals are pretty clear and he sounds like a player that likes his situation and wants to be back.
“I think probably situation. I want to be happy, I want to win,” Lowry said. “But, it’s something me and my agent have to talk about, but I know I want to win and that’s important to me.
“It is just one of those things where I have to sit down and look at everything, weigh options and do the best for myself and my family, but it is still too early. I am still in Game Seven mode.
“I appreciate the fans. I mean what they’ve done this year for us and even them cheering us off the floor, it was an amazing thing. (The fans) being outside in Maple Leaf Square was awesome. The fan base is unbelievable. I would like to let them know how much I appreciate them – I know the team appreciates (them).
“The situation (I want) is just winning (and) the way culture (is) around the team. This culture around here is unbelievable from top to bottom. My job is not to build a team, my job is to play. Masai (Ujiri) will do a great job, I am sure of it and he will do the things it takes to get to the team to the next level.
“I love this place. I love this situation. It is as simple as that.
“The best 14 other guys I have had in a locker room in my career.
“I know I will be back a few times (this summer) because Masai invited me to come do something here and I am excited about doing that.
“Of course I can see myself back. We just went to Game Seven first round and no one expected us to be there, so of course I could see that, those thing are on my mind, but I haven’t really got into the deep process of thought yet – those things are two months away. There’s a long way to go and a lot of thinking and talking to do.”
In summary, Lowry loves the team, his teammates, the fans, the culture, the city and his situation. He trusts the general manager to take this team to the next level, so there doesn’t seem to be much left to ask for except money and Leiweke has pretty much promised that won’t be an issue. Lowry has even made plans to return to Toronto this summer at Ujiri’s request and he sounded genuinely excited about the trip. No wonder DeRozan isn’t worried.
Nothing is ever final with NBA free agents until the contracts are signed and it will be a long two months waiting until the moment of truth arrives and the Raptors can present a formal offer that Lowry can accept. However, at this point the shock would be if Lowry ended up in another NBA city. Toronto has everything he wants.