December 3, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Toronto Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry (7) is helped off the court by head athletic trainer Scott McCullough (left) after an injury against the Golden State Warriors during the third quarter at Oracle Arena. The Warriors defeated the Raptors 112-103. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Why are all the pundits pushing Kyle Lowry out of town?

Loyal readers will know I disagreed with the Prevailing Wisdom [PW] on the implications of the Rudy Gay trade. To recap, many commentators have reached what I view as the lazy conclusion that dumping Rudy was Pawn to Queen Four in Masai Ujiri’s long-term chess game. In my view, the Rudy trade marks the unwinding of the Bryan Colangelo legacy of financial handcuffs, a process begun when Masai dumped traded Andrea Bargnani to the New York Knicks.

Dec 9, 2013; Sacramento, CA, USA; Sacramento Kings center Aaron Gray (left) and forward Quincy Acy (center) and forward Rudy Gay (right) walk through the crowd to the court during the fourth quarter of the game against the Dallas Mavericks at Sleep Train Arena. The Sacramento Kings defeated the Dallas Mavericks 112-97. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

Now the PW has all but packed Kyle Lowry’s bags for him, presuming he is Masai’s “obvious” next move. The PW assumes that for the Raps, losing is winning. The worse our season, the more ping pong balls we receive in the draft, one allegedly chock-full of once-in-a-generation talent.

I have seen no evidence of any desire on the part of Toronto Raptors management to move our starting point guard. Kyle’s contract expires after this season, and there haven’t been any straws in the wind about efforts to re-sign him. If I’m Masai, would I make an effort to bring Kyle back? Yes, definitely. Kyle plays hard, and seems well-liked by his mates. While Kyle has been correctly described as “ornery”, I don’t see anyone else who’s even remotely capable of becoming the Raps’ starting PG should he no longer be on hand. Sure, Greivis Vasquez is on his way, and may be the heir apparent, but let’s wait until he gets some games under his belt, shall we?

Tanking the season in hopes of merciful ping pong balls is hardly a guarantee that Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker or Marcus Smart will be slipping on a Raptors hat come Draft Night. Lots of teams coveted LeBron James; only the Cleveland Cavaliers got him. The NBA’s basement is crowded this season, so there’s no assurance we’ll end up with an early pick.

There’s another consideration here, one which I hope Masai takes seriously. What about us fans? How much longer, and how many rebuilds, are we supposed to endure? Can’t we cheer for a team that actually has a chance to win some games?

If I’m Masai, here’s what I do – nothing. The Gay trade happened well in advance of the trade deadline of February 20, which allows sufficient time for the new-look Raps to develop some chemistry. If that happens, let’s enjoy the ride. If not, c’est la vie; there’s lots of time to shop Kyle. A contending team which loses its point guard to injury might well be prepared to pony up a high price for Lowry.

What say you, Rapture Nation? Would you trade Kyle Lowry tonight? Let me know in the Comments.

Brian Boake is Senior Editor for Raptors Rapture. “Like” Raptors Rapture on Facebook and follow us on twitter @RaptorsRapture for all the latest news and updates about the best damn NBA team from Canada.

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