The Toronto Raptors finally won an NBA championship in 2019 due in large part to the combined efforts of head coach Nick Nurse and future Hall of Fame point guard Kyle Lowry. Nurse's schematic creativeness and Lowry's wily veteran leadership were both essential elements of that run.
However, by the time the next decade was rolling around, it was clear that Toronto's intention to go with a youth movement didn't mesh well with Lowry's advanced age and Nurse's abrasive personality. Lowry was the first to go, ending up with the Miami Heat in the move that sent Precious Achiuwa to Toronto.
While Lowry's deal with the Heat helped him retain a starting job and make it to the NBA Finals, his time eventually ran out, and he was traded away to the Charlotte Hornets. With Charlotte in no mood to let Lowry stick around, No. 7 agreed to a buyout that lets him fulfill his dream of returning home.
Lowry, who was born and raised in Philadelphia and attended Villanova, joined the 76ers in a mood that reunited him with Nurse. Lowry will always be a Raptor, but he's earned the chance to try to slip one more ring on his hand with his hometown team.
Former Toronto Raptors star Kyle Lowry joins Nick Nurse, hometown Philadelphia 76ers
Lowry averaged 8.2 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 4.0 assists per game with Miami this season. His overall efficiency was right on par with what he did in the last few seasons, but his scoring output hasn't been this low since his formative years in the NBA before his Raptors trade.
Lowry likely isn't going to start for Philadelphia when they're all at full strength, but even a compromised KLOW can be an impact player. His defensive effort is still quality, and he can make enough timely 3-pointers to help a 76ers team that is lacking depth have a better second unit.
While it might be tough for the Raptors to root for a division rival, their former players are all over the Atlantic Division. Lowry and Nurse will try to will get the 76ers their next ring, the banged-up OG Anunoby is plying his trade with the Knicks, and Dennis Schroder (who has 1000x less goodwill with this fanbase) just joined the Brooklyn Nets.
In a year where Toronto is not going to experience much winning, fans could live vicariously through some of their more treasured names in Lowry and Nurse will get together for one more charge at a title. With Joel Embiid banged up, Lowry's presence will be needed.