In Emergency Break Glass - what if Kyle Lowry doesn't return to Toronto?

May 4, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan (10) and teammates console point guard Kyle Lowry (7) after coming up short on the final play of the game against the Brooklyn Nets in game seven of the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Air Canada Centre. The Nets beat the Raptors 104-103. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

“If you want peace, prepare for war” attributed to Vegetius, late 4th century AD Roman

While we might feel all warm and tingly about how much Kyle Lowry says he enjoyed his ’13-’14 season as a Toronto Raptor, there is no question he’s a smart guy in an enviable position. His superb season at point guard turned General Managers’ heads all around the NBA, and he’s an Unrestricted Free Agent. Our team might be primus inter pares (first among equals) in Lowry’s heart, but his head will largely govern which team gains his services.

Let’s consider our roster the day after Kyle announces he’s becoming a Los Angeles Laker, or whatever. First off, we just “found” about $11 million in our budget, that being the amount allocated for Kyle. The salary cap is around $63 million, so if we simply retained everyone we’d be under the cap by $3 million. The buyout of John Salmons (but not Amir Johnson, please) will happen regardless of Kyle’s status, so we’ve now got another $6 million. I hope Masai Ujiri hasn’t cut ties with Greivis Vasquez, because he just became our Game 1 starter at the point. Vasquez’s backup will be either Dwight Buycks or Julyan Stone, at least according to the depth chart. I happen to think Nando De Colo would be just fine at point.

All of this cash jingling in our pants pocket means we can be buyers in free agency. Who is of interest? Several readers have suggested Luol Deng, a veteran scorer who always looks better than his team. I think he’s too expensive – he got $14M last year, and I don’t think he’s worth 10. How about P.J. Tucker? He once wore Toronto colours, but didn’t get a proper look. I like players like Tucker and Alan Anderson who have plied their trade around the world. They’re humble, and they work hard, because they’ve ridden the buses elsewhere and don’t want to ever do that again. I suspect coach Casey and P.J. would bond instantly. Besides, he won’t cost a fraction of Deng’s demands. Trevor Ariza has also been mentioned by readers, and I’m much warmer about him than I am about Deng. Like Tucker, he’s a defensive-minded hustler who can score if left uncovered, and he won’t cost the earth.

I realize neither Tucker nor Ariza are point guards, but there’s always room on my team for quality swingmen. Who’s worthy of consideration among true point guards? Shaun Livingston, who gave us trouble in the playoffs, is Unrestricted. He’s OK, but not the playmaker I’d like to see. Rodney Stuckey has been stuck in the slow lane most of his career, but was decent this season. We could do worse. Ramon Sessions has been productive wherever he’s gone, and I strongly suspect he’d like to be out of Milwaukee. Their rebuild is just starting, and he’s not a kid.

I’ll consider trade candidates soon. Anyone have a favourite free agent or trade-possibility point guard they would like to see as a Raptor? Let me know in the Comments.





Tags: Kyle Lowry Toronto Raptors

  • Harun Said

    if Lyle Lowry doesnt resign we could draft Elfrid Payton a rondo like player with a really high ceiling, i bet Masai has his eyes on him. He needed to develop but if Lowry doesnt re-sign, Toronto can look at Elfrid payton as the starting point guard that can make Demar better and with development he could lead toronto to a series win in a couple of years. But im being overly optimistic

    • Ian De Vera

      The problem is we would need to draft before we could even make any offer to FAs

      • Newmarket_Brian

        Hi Ian:
        You’re right, but I’m confident in saying there’s backchannel conversation going on between Kyle and the Raps. Nothing is done till it’s done, but we’ll get a pretty good idea of where Masai thinks the negotiations are headed by who he drafts. If he goes for a big man, I like our odds of bringing Kyle back.
        Thanks for commenting.

    • Newmarket_Brian

      Hi Harun:
      You’re not the only commenter to suggest Payton. I’ll have to take a closer look at him. Most mock drafts have him in the mid-teens.
      Thanks for commenting.