Marc Stein: Among the many questions post-trade: How does the Boston/Philly deal impact Kyle Lowry’s July? The Sixers are obviously no longer an option.
More on Kyle Lowry Free Agency
Toronto Raptors soon-to-be free agent guard Kyle Lowry had a meeting with backcourt partner DeMar DeRozan and Raptors coach Dwane Casey this week in the Bay Area, league sources tell ESPN.
The main impetus for the Casey-led assembly is unclear, but the Raptors are obviously under pressure to re-sign Lowry, who is projected to be one of the most coveted free agents on this summer's market. Among Casey's objectives for the meeting, sources say, was to expose his players to the NBA Finals culture.
Josh Lewenberg: Masai says speculation that Lowry wants out is coming from same people that said DeRozan would go to Lakers. "Every year its the same thing"
ASM SPORTS: ASM client @Klow7 has officially opted out of his contract with the @Raptors. He had 7 days from the last game to execute.
Sources have said the North Philly native has been interested in playing for the Sixers for some time. The speculation only heightened once Bryan Colangelo became the president of basketball operations in April 2016. As the Raptors general manager, Colangelo acquired Lowry in a trade from the Houston Rockets on July 11, 2012. The two have remained good friends since then.
Appearing on the 97.5 Midday Show, ESPN reporter Brian Windhorst continued to stoke the Lowry to Philly fire, calling the scenario “in play” (h/t Liberty Ballers): I think it’s in play. I think the Sixers are interested, I would think it would take a max-level contract. I don’t know how Bryan Colangelo feels about paying a 31-year-old a max-level contract, and they’ve also declared that Ben Simmons is going to be their guy. That could be a marriage where you bring Ben along with Kyle, and then by the time Kyle is ready to transition to a more backup role, maybe Ben could be ready, or maybe they want to go with Ben right away. That’s things they haven’t made public yet and I understand why they haven’t.
Sirius XM NBA: Casey says Lowry has earned the right to be a FA, but Lowry knows the franchise is ready to win.
Eric Smith: "I will be opting out" -- Lowry confirming what we all 'knew' / assumed 👍
Josh Lewenberg: Lowry on free agency: "What adds to the stress is that you're making a franchise-altering decision, period... This is a real life decision"
The morning after the Raptors’ season ended in a four-game sweep by the Cleveland Cavaliers, DeRozan said he hasn’t thought much about Lowry’s future with the team. "I never looked at it or tried to put it into perspective, what it would be like without him," DeRozan said. "It’s going to be a decision on him that he’s going to have to make, and I support him 100 per cent. "We gained something that goes way beyond basketball, so that's why when it comes to things like this, I don't put the pressure on him, or I don't say: do this, do that. He's got to make the decision, as a friend I've got to be there to support him."
Play hardball with Lowry, and he might leave -- just like Al Horford bolted Atlanta after the Hawks haggled over that dicey fifth season. Lowry's a prickly, proud dude, and he will have suitors -- including his hometown Sixers. He signed what turned out to be a wildly below-market contract in 2014, and he (justifiably) wants to be paid as a franchise guy. He led the sad-sack Raptors out of the sullen Andrea Bargnani era, to places where they had never been.
DeRozan wants Lowry back, but won't lobby him, he told ESPN.com on Sunday. "I didn't call or pressure him the first time, and he didn't do that to me," DeRozan said. "I'm just gonna be there for him as a friend."
Bobby Marks: Kyle Lowry has 7 days to exercise his $12 million player option for 2017-18. Opting out and Lowry would count $18m towards the cap.
Lowry has not been definitive in discussing his impending free agency—at the All-Star game, he would only say that staying in Toronto, “would be an option.” The wrist injury that will keep him out for the rest of the regular season is a tough blow, especially because the Raptors’ future prospects will be part of Lowry’s free-agent decision. If the team stumbles in the early portion of the postseason, Lowry would be more willing to sacrifice the financial advantage the Raptors can offer to explore the market. Lowry was very interested in signing with the Lakers in 2014, but was scared off by the lack of a direction in L.A. That’s changed, and even with D’Angelo Russell in place, Lowry is expected to be a Laker target. Lowry’s hometown Sixers, badly in need of a point guard, figure to be in the mix, too. An outside contender: the Nuggets, who are expected to be aggressive in free agency this summer.
Sources close to the Raptors said this weekend there was almost no scenario in which the Raptors wouldn’t pony up the money unless Lowry told them directly that he does not want to be there. Today, though, that is not the case. Lowry does have a player option worth $12 million, but he is obviously expected to decline it.
Do you want to stay in Toronto? Is that your first choice? Kyle Lowry: When the time comes, then I will worry about it. It definitely will be an option. It's definitely home. I have been given the keys to it, [and it's where] I have been most successful. When that time comes, I'll think about it, but for now I just want to keep winning and try to get to that next level and take it game by game and day by day.
Zach Lowe thinks that the Sixers will absolutely make a run at pending free agent Kyle Lowry this summer. The ESPN journalist spoke on his The Lowe Post podcast with Brian Windhorst Thursday, citing several reasons why the franchise could pursue the veteran Raptors point guard.
Lowry is from Philadelphia, Lowe mentions, and has played under ex-Raptors executive Bryan Colangelo previously. On top of that, the Sixers will have an exorbitant amount of cap space and could benefit from the services of a point guard should they ultimately decide to utilize Ben Simmons in ways other than as a traditional playmaker.
Dwane Casey on Kyle Lowry: "He's done a good job of being in great shape. I don't think the free agent year is going to have anything to do with his performance or putting pressure on his play."
Kyle Lowry plans to opt out of the final year of his contract, he told The Vertical, passing on a $12 million salary in 2017-18 to join a point-guard marketplace that will include the Los Angeles Clippers’ Chris Paul and Golden State’s Steph Curry, who has already said he plans to re-sign with the Warriors.
Lowry, 30, loves the life he has there, the contending core, the endorsement opportunities, the manic fanbase and the chance to someday raise his No. 7 into the arena rafters. Somewhere on the summer market – Philadelphia, New York, perhaps the Clippers, should they lose Paul – there will be an offer in the neighborhood of a max deal for him. Nevertheless, Lowry’s preference is a painless, fast, five-year deal to stay in Toronto, to take him into his mid-30s with the Raptors. “If you’re that franchise’s guy, and you’re the guy that they’ve been rolling with, and you’ve given that franchise everything you have, yeah, I think [the talks] should be easy,” Lowry told The Vertical. “I think it should be a situation where a guy shouldn’t have to talk to another team. DeMar didn’t have the chance to talk to another team. For me, I think that at 12:01 a.m. on July 1 – something should be close. If not, I’m open to seeing what else is out there.”
This is no ultimatum out of Lowry, no threat: It is simply the reality of a robust market, where All-Star players reaching the conference finals are compensated accordingly now. Ujiri makes no negotiating promises in public, but understand: Toronto hasn’t lost a player that it’s been committed to keeping. History’s on Lowry’s side here. “Kyle has been at the forefront of the Raptor movement,” Ujiri told The Vertical. “How he goes, we go. He has helped establish a culture that will grow even more. We really appreciate that. He is a winner, and we want to win.”