Raptors and Kyle Lowry parting ways came at the perfect time

TAMPA, FLORIDA - JANUARY 29: Kyle Lowry #7 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
TAMPA, FLORIDA - JANUARY 29: Kyle Lowry #7 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /

Fred VanVleet and the Toronto Raptors are getting prepared for the most emotional reunion in franchise history, as Kyle Lowry will make his first appearance at Scotiabank Arena as a member of the visiting Miami Heat. Expect nothing short of an electric atmosphere.

While it’s always tough to see arguably the best player in franchise history decide to bolt in free agency after nearly a decade together, the success that both Lowry and the Raptors have had this year proves that getting this sign-and-trade done was the right way to turn the page.

In a conversation with Michael Grange of Sportsnet, Masai Ujiri outlined that making sure Lowry ended up in a good situation was of the utmost importance. However, making sure that the Raptors were in a position to succeed without him was equally important for this front office.

“Kyle is a legend,” Ujiri said. “To me, he’s the best Raptor ever, there’s no doubt about that. So, therefore, with fans, ownership, with the organization, it had to go the right way.” Considering how their respective seasons have gone, it looks like both parties seem to be at peace with the latest moves.

The Toronto Raptors did right by Kyle Lowry when they turned the page.

By getting rid of Lowry, the Raptors were able to acquire Precious Achiuwa. After an awkward start, Achiuwa is starting to look like a dynamic two-way presence thanks to his 3-point shooting. Lowry’s departure also helped create a void at point guard that two stars have filled with aplomb.

VanVleet was an All-Star in the first season since Lowry vacated his post, as the usual blend of feisty defense and clutch shot-making that Raptors fans have expected from their starting point guard has not dissipated. Lowry leaving has also allowed rookie sensation Scottie Barnes to eat up 35.5 minutes per game.

Pascal Siakam has taken over without Lowry, becoming the team’s unquestioned best player in the second half by way of an All-NBA campaign. With Lowry handing him the keys upon his departure, Siakam has flourished.

“Kyle was such a big part of what we do as a team and as an organization,” Siakam said to Grange. “With someone as big and as great as Kyle, you had to take a step back…with him gone, it was just an opportunity for one more voice to be heard and I felt like I could be that person.”

There appears to be no animosity between Lowry and the Raptors. They found a perfect replacement for Lowry’s star power while he tries to secure championship No. 2 in Miami. A win-win.

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