Many are expecting the Toronto Raptors fo fall off a cliff next season after winning the ultimate prize in 2018-19. With Kawhi Leonard now in Los Angeles, a lot of their winning blueprint will have to be tinkered, but this doesn’t mean they don’t have full faith in their current players.
In fact, the Raptors just agreed to an extension with the heart and soul of their team: point guard Kyle Lowry. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Lowry has agreed to a one-year, $31 million extension. Lowry’s current deal was set to expire next summer.
Kyle Lowry and the Toronto Raptors have agreed on a one-year, $31 million contract extension that takes the five-time All-Star guard out of July’s free-agent market, agent Mark Bartelstein of Priority Sports told ESPN.
The extension guarantees Lowry two years and $64 million on the books — including the $33.3 million left on his expiring contract this season.
Toronto president Masai Ujiri, general manager Bobby Webster and Lowry’s camp had been motivated to hammer out an extension for months. Over the weekend, the sides closed on a deal that delivers the Raptors options as they evaluate how they’ll construct a post-championship roster — and delivers Lowry the opportunity to extend his stay with a franchise with which he’s wanted to complete his career.
Even though Kawhi Leonard was who led Toronto’s attack en route to securing their first championship last season, Kyle Lowry has always been the driving force behind Toronto being a perennial threat in the East. Now with Leonard out of the picture, many are counting the Raptors out next season but they could be in for a surprise.
The Raptors should be solid again in 2019-20, and Lowry not having to stress about the upcoming free agency period likely only helps. The Raptors will also feature budding star Pascal Siakam who exploded onto the national scene during last year’s playoff run. Siakam is also in line for a lucrative contract extension.
With a core led by Siakam and Kyle Lowry along with veterans such as Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka, the Raptors will be a darkhorse contender in a top-heavy Eastern Conference next season.