Kyle Lowry’s contract extension means the Toronto Raptors want to win

Toronto Raptors - Kyle Lowry (Richard Lautens/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
Toronto Raptors - Kyle Lowry (Richard Lautens/Toronto Star via Getty Images) /

After signing Kyle Lowry to a one-year contract extension, it looks like the Toronto Raptors still have their sights firmly set on winning.

The Toronto Raptors championship tour continues on! After winning their first-ever NBA title last season, the Raptors waltz into this season knowing they are the reigning NBA champions and that the general masses, once again, don’t expect too much from them.

Despite still having a large contingent of their title-winning roster, analysts have still predicted that the Raptors could be on the periphery of the playoffs, or stuck in a dogfight from the fifth seed downwards.

Even more so, a significant amount of time has been dedicated to discussing whether or not the Toronto Raptors will decide to blow up the roster this year, trading away their remaining assets that are out of contract at the end of the season. Part of the conversation made sense, especially if the front office had their sights set on the long-term future.

In the eyes of the front office, the Raptors don’t need to blow it up. Or, that’s what their latest move suggests. In the early hours of Monday morning, Adrian Wojnarowski broke the news that the Toronto Raptors and Kyle Lowry had agreed on a one-year $31million contract extension, keeping Lowry around the team until the 2021 offseason.

Lowry was set to be an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season, but this extension takes him off the market for another year at least. It’s worth noting that this could potentially be a step in the direction of trading away Lowry in an attempt to get a little more value, but everything that has been said this offseason points in a different direction.

This should also be viewed more than just a gratuity contract too, rewarding Kyle Lowry for his service as a Raptor – and potentially the greatest one of all-time. Lowry has given his best years to the Raptors, becoming a five-time All-Star, a one-time All-NBA talent, and now an NBA champion in the process. He’s been the key to the most successful period in franchise history and keeping him around for one more year lends credence to the notion that the Raptors want to continue winning.

In essence, it’s a good deal for both sides, despite it feeling like an exorbitant amount of money. The Raptors get an elite point guard sticking around for one more year, one who can help Pascal Siakam make the jump to a legitimate number one option, while also aiding the development of the likes of OG Anunoby and Fred VanVleet.

The Raptors give Lowry the extension he deserves without giving up too much flexibility in cap space. Marc Gasol, Fred VanVleet, Pascal Siakam, and Serge Ibaka are all free agents at the end of this season – though it seems likely Siakam will get an extension before free agency.

With a large amount of cap on the cards for next season, the Raptors can still be good enough to compete this year, while sowing the seeds for adding players in the offseason. Instilling a winning culture keeps players around and draws free agents to you. With Lowry on the team, the Raptors are an objectively better team.

If the Raptors head into the free agency of 2021 as a legitimate threat to win 50-plus games once again, something that is definitely possible this season, as well as having a potential top-20 player in Siakam and an elite point guard in Lowry, they could have the swaying power to bring a superstar to the fold.

Where do Pascal Siakam and Kyle Lowry rank as an NBA duo?. dark. Next

Lowry is a winner with and without the Raptors, but as the face of the franchise during it’s most successful period, he deserves this contract. The Raptors keep their guy for one more year without changing their trajectory, and that’s huge.