Many people questioned the Raptors’ decision to extend Kyle Lowry on a 1-year $31 million deal, and perhaps rightfully so. The 33-year-old point guard is, well, 33-years old and Toronto is no longer a title contender without Kawhi Leonard. As it turns out, the Raptors faced some pressure to sign Lowry to an extension in the form of a potential holdout.
According to Michael Grange of Sportsnet, Toronto likely would have seen Kyle Lowry holdout if he did not receive a contract extension. Grange notes that this can be backed up by Lowry’s absence at training camp and the early parts of the preseason. Lowry was not even present at Toronto’s intrasquad scrimmage, the only Raptor who did not participate.
Kyle Lowry had a good veil to hide his contract demands under, too. He underwent thumb surgery following the NBA Finals. Yet that cover was blown on media day when Lowry told the press he was cleared for contact and was even playing golf in July. So while it may have been masked, the threat of a holdout persisted.
The extension is more likely another gesture of gratitude toward the NBA champion point guard and seven-year Toronto veteran. The $31 million goes into effect next season and eliminates yet another potential free agent. Aside from Anthony Davis, who is widely expected to re-sign with the Lakers, there are very few big-name free agents. Pascal Siakim is expected to re-sign with Toronto as well. More importantly for Toronto, this signing does not inhibit their cap space in the coveted summer of 2021 when the free agent pool appears to be much more populated with players worth big contracts.