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.

Remember, for the best deals on Toronto Raptors tickets for any game on the 2013-14 NBA schedule, visit our friends at TiqIQ.com.

 

Tags: Featured Kyle Lowry Masai Ujiri New York Knicks Popular Toronto Raptors

  • Jensan

    Trade Lowry, definitely do not resign, if you can trade him for a first round pick. Raptors bench had no depth.

    Rudy Gay did not work out. Getting rid of two 8 figure annual salaries was necessary.

    Vasquez can play point. The bench with Patterson is deeper at PF, My personal belief is Patterson and Vasquez stays.

    Salmons is trade bait at the trade deadline as is Chuck Hayes.

    • Newmarket_Brian

      Hi Jensan:
      As I replied to ac (above), trading Kyle is OK with me if there’s a decent return.
      All of our new guys will need to be “spotlighted” in January, in order to show they’re still able to contribute at the top level of the game. Some or all will likely move on as a result. Your guess of Salmons and Hayes is more than reasonable.
      Thanks for commenting.

  • Dinos Charitopoulos

    Hello Brian, I agree with you in general. I cannot understand the current “trend” about trading Lowry. OK, his contract ends this summer. Financial-wise, we may have to trade him. But basketball-wise (even financial and i’ll explain) we must keep him. He’s much better this season that the others, he can score and pass, he defends, grabs rebounds…If we trade him, who will be the next starter point guard, next season? Unless there is a crazy scenario that could bring John Wall or Kyrie Irving to the Raps (crazy dreams of an unhappy but “hungry” fan), I cannot see any PG willing to come to Toronto and be an upgrade to Kyle. And, his salary is a “legitimate” one (the financial part), so Masai should start talking with him about a new contract. I don’t know if he already did that first talk and the player wants to leave, or the asked for $10,000,000 per year or sth, but I’m doubtful.
    The only way that i would “welcome” a trade including Kyle, is if another team/s that are already struggling, give us 1st round picks.
    If this doesn’t happen, then I’m afraid that next season the team will be empty from salaries but also from talent….Cause nobody can assure me that we will land Wiggins or Parker, to change our franchise…

    And at the end of the day, this team seems to have talent but they don’t have the chemistry (or the coaching ability-another huge case in our team, that i would love to see a change there) to succeed…It will be so difficult to suck (so to pick high) while being an Eastern Conference team…

    • Newmarket_Brian

      Hi Dinos:
      Wall or Irving? I wish.
      I concur that Masai should be engaging in contract talks with Kyle right now, not only to find out his price, but whether he even wants to return. If Kyle makes it clear he won’t re-sign, then out the door he goes. If we can get back a rotation player and a high draft pick (not likely), I’d sign off.
      The coach doesn’t want to tank. No matter how many assurances he receives, he knows he’ll be gone if this team doesn’t reach .500 by game 70 or so. Maybe a coaching change is what Masai wants, but if he was going to do that, he would have before the season started.
      Thanks for commenting.

  • ac1011990

    We should trade Lowry, but only if we get a decent return back. Lowry alone can get the raps a few wins, and that is something to stay away from if were tanking. If Masai is actually rebuilding this team, its not going to be a one season thing, we could pick up our future point guard next season (exum, smart etc) or in the drafts after that. I really want Raptors to start completely again, only keeping Derozan, Valanciunas and Ross if possible.

    • Newmarket_Brian

      Hi ac:
      I have no issue with the idea of trading Lowry, assuming, like you say, that the return is solid. My post was meant to argue that such a deal is neither inevitable nor needed immediately.
      I don’t think we need to do the complete teardown that you’re advocating. I’d be happy keeping the 3 you mention, plus Amir, Hansbrough, Kyle (if he really wants to stay), Vasquez, Stone and maybe Hayes.
      Thanks for commenting.

      • ac1011990

        That’s fair but personally I think Lowry would keep this team afloat and help get us some wins which at this point don’t want. He is to good not to help us in some close games so at this point I’d rather try and see if we can get a nice deal back. To me it doesn’t really matter if we keep the other guys or not because they aren’t game changers, don’t think other then Amir those guys can win games for us and hurt the tank. Amir would also bring back a very nice return but I like him to much and hope he stays because he’s a good hard worker and a very good piece moving forward.

        • Newmarket_Brian

          Hi ac:
          You’re clearly in the tanking camp. I’m not there yet, but I might be. The biggest problem is that this might be the toughest year ever to try to lose. There are a lot of really bad teams (Utah, Knicks, Nets, 76ers, Bucks), & those guys might scoop up the best draft spots.
          Best,
          Brian

  • AM

    If something comes up that Ujiri feels will help the team in the long run, I’m sure he’ll do it. If a ’14 first round selection was to come the Raptors way for Lowry, someone else would be going with him. He alone can’t garner that high a price, especially in this draft.

    Either way, trade or stay, Raps are ok in my opinion. He’s playing well right now to help them for the rest of the season. Tankers remember – you need to look good in order to at least maintain if not increase value and with the players around him, it’s likely that he will continue to play this way (contract year for him with this team or another). If he doesn’t resign, then Ujiri looks elsewhere and continues to adjust the roster.

    Lately, I really like how he’s playing and would like if he were to stick around. He’s into the game no matter if he’s on the floor or on the bench.

    I’d prefer to wait for anymore trades. Ujiri axed the contracts that needed to go, the rest are pretty short term which gives him flexibility.

    • Newmarket_Brian

      Hi AM:
      I’m looking for something to argue with you about, but I can’t find anything. In short, you and I are in complete cahoots. Well done!
      Thanks for commenting.

  • AM

    Well, just got msg’s to my phone via bleacher report that the knicks, nets, and warriors are interested. The knicks are raps are apparently trying to work out a deal.

    Please not Felton.

    • Dinos Charitopoulos

      Felton it is, and I cannot understand the trade. Seriously. Please, somebody can explain?

      • Newmarket_Brian

        Hi Dinos:
        I’d tell the Knicks to get lost. Their record is worse than ours. Iman Shumpert? Metta World Peace? Give me a break. Felton has regressed into one of the worst players in the NBA.
        I really don’t want to do a trade analysis involving any of those guys.
        Keep the faith – maybe nothing will happen.

        • Dinos Charitopoulos

          Fingers crossed!!! lol

          • Newmarket_Brian

            Hi Dinos:
            …and toes also. If Masai is truly determined to get a first-round pick, I think no trade is likely.

    • Newmarket_Brian

      Hi AM:
      I’m with you – Raymond Felton? Yuck, squared.
      Let’s hope this talk all dries up.

      Best,
      Brian

  • Rowdy101

    Hi Brian. This all bothers me. If Rudy Gay hit 45% of his FG and not 28%, we’re not having any of these conversations. They win 7 more games and are a contender with a young team.

    Rudy’s poor play brought out the unravellers.
    The team, as we’ve talked in the past, needs time, a performing star, and some bench.
    There is not much to trade at the moment, and Lowry appears to be the only pawn left. Leave him be.

    • Newmarket_Brian

      Hi Rowdy:
      Amen, brother. Sometimes the best move is none at all.
      Thanks for dropping by.

  • Ryan

    Trading Lowry makes sense to me. Then shop DeRozan. Our goal should be to lose as many games as possible, while freeing up cap space and assembling assets. Keep Valanciunas (and maybe Ross and Johnson), but everyone else should open for discussion. There’s no worse place to finish than middle of the pack. Commit to the rebuild!

    • Newmarket_Brian

      Hi Ryan:
      Another voter for the tank.
      I hear you about finishing middle of the pack, but at some point the Raps need to stabilize. I say give this group the month of January. Injuries may make contenders much more anxious for Kyle, and we can pry away some healthy assets.
      I wouldn’t trade DeRozan. He’s improved every season, and is even on a reasonable contract.
      Thanks for commenting.

      • cd hall

        A reasonable contract thats on it’s last year with a player rumoured to want out of the Tdot now that his best friend (Gay) has been traded. Remember Lowry can also get injured and we lose all trade value!!!

        • Newmarket_Brian

          Hi cd:
          Kyle may be bummed out about Rudy’s departure, but that’s life in the big leagues. He’s in a contract year, so should be motivated to give his best effort regardless of who else is on the floor.
          Yes, he could get injured, but I’d take that chance rather than make a deal for its own sake. You may well end up with the last laugh here. I’d still wait and see.
          Thanks for commenting.

  • Anuj Shah

    Hey Brian, I totally agree with you on this one. The way the raptors are playing right now is really fun to watch and i believe we should ride it out. Lowry is playing at a very high level and at times he looks like the one with the most heart on the court. He is only increasing his value to the team while playing well. After the rudy gay trade our team assist totals have gone up substantially and we will soon be out of last place in that category. Masi mentioned that we wont be caught in “no mans land” and to me i think that means we will either be a top 4 team in the east this season or we will loose many games to gain ping pong balls. I kind of disagree with this method with whats happening with our young team. I believe its time to gain some playoff experience when we have the opportunity to do so. We wont be a top 4 team with brooklyn hitting their stride now, the pistons playing well, and the hawks doing what they always do. But we can defiantly enter the playoffs and gain valuable experience for our young guys. Add key pieces in the offseason and become a top 4 team in the east next season. I do not believe in tanking as i think that would be a much longer rebuild process then many assume.

    • Newmarket_Brian

      Hi Anuj:
      It’s always good to hear from you.
      Masai’s “no man’s land” comment has me scratching my head. Trying to stage-manage every win and loss is impossible; you can end up where you don’t want to be because of the actions of other teams, which is beyond a GM’s control.
      We’re winning – isn’t that what a pro sports team is supposed to do? And we’re doing so while giving significant minutes to JV & Ross, the guys who have to improve if we’re ever going to be good.
      I completely concur with you about the value of playoff experience. You can’t draft it, trade for it, or sign it in free agency – you have to earn it. If we have a serious shot at being #1 in the Atlantic, we have to seize the opportunity.
      Tanks, but no tanks. It’s lengthy and risky. We have players of quality under our nose.
      Drop by again, please.