While the Toronto Raptors did manage to hold on to executive and 2019 championship architect Masai Ujiri after months of questions about his future, the franchise had to swallow a very bitter pill by watching Kyle Lowry depart for the Miami Heat. For the first time in almost a decade, Lowry will not ply his trade in Toronto.
The idea that Lowry is the greatest Raptors player of all time (or the GROAT, as these kids nowadays refer to him) is getting harder to rebuke with each passing year. Considering all that he has done for the franchise, Lowry’s resume has convinced Ujiri to declaratively call him the best to ever play in Toronto.
Ujiri held a press conference for the first time since he signed an extensive contract that both gives him a title change to vice chairman/president of basketball operations and keeps him in Toronto for the foreseeable future. He fielded some Lowry-centric questions, and he offered up nothing but praise.
Ujiri claimed that Lowry, who remains “family” to the Raptors, is “the best Raptor” ever after wishing him the best with his new venture alongside Jimmy Butler in Miami. If Masai is vouching for Lowry as the GROAT, that should end the debate, right?
Masai Ujiri said Kyle Lowry is the best Toronto Raptors player ever.
Lowry’s name is all over the record books, as he leads the franchise in 3-pointers made, assists, and steals. He is second in points scored and (somehow) third in rebounds. With the 2019 title the cherry on top of his nine-year career, Lowry has put some distance between himself and players like DeMar DeRozan, Vince Carter, and Chris Bosh.
Ujiri claimed that he did have some conversations with Lowry during this saga and claimed that it has been “really tough” to see a player of his caliber decide to leave, but he also hinted that this team is “in the middle” right now, and playing for a contender like the Heat could help the GROAT add more luster to his legacy at this stage in his career.
Carter might’ve been a game-changer in his prime, Bosh had the most productive peak, and DeRozan might be a better scorer, but no one encapsulates the total package of scoring, defense, passing, and leadership from Lowry.
When looking purely at what they contributed to the franchise in Raptors colors, no one stands close to Lowry, and Ujiri knows it. While his time in Toronto may be over, Ujiri will be doing everything he can to make sure what he has done in these last nine years will end up preserved for future generations.