Raptors Rumors: Could the greatest player in franchise history come back this summer?

The greatest player in franchise history continues to stay connected to the city of Toronto and the Raptors franchise. Does that mean he could be returning?
Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan, Toronto Raptors
Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan, Toronto Raptors / Jason Miller/GettyImages

The city of Toronto celebrated yet another basketball milestone this past week, announcing its selection as the home of the WNBA's next expansion franchise. Everyone from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to Masai Ujiri to Scottie Barnes showed up at the ceremony to celebrate the growth of women's basketball and of basketball in Canada, which is having something of a moment right now.

One person showed up to the ceremony that may have been something of a surprise, and that was longtime point guard Kyle Lowry. The 2024 free agent spent the end of the season with the Philadelphia 76ers after a year-and-a-half with the Miami Heat. He is a Philadelphia native, born in the City of Brotherly Love, so it was no surprise to see him find his way to the 76ers when he hit the buyout market.

The 38-year-old Lowry is not from Toronto, but he still made the trip up to celebrate the WNBA's franchise. Perhaps he was trying to lean into his status as one of the most beloved Toronto sports figures of all time. Perhaps he wanted to bring even more support for the growth of women's basketball.

Or perhaps, just perhaps, something more was going on.

Could Kyle Lowry be open to a return to the Toronto Raptors?

Kyle Lowry played nine seasons with the Toronto Raptors, scoring over 10,000 points and playing in 84 playoff games, the most memorable coming during the team's run to the 2019 NBA Championship. When he left in 2021 to sign with the Miami Heat and pursue another title, his long-standing relationship with the franchise and the fan base softened the blow. Lowry couldn't win anymore in Toronto, so he was seeking a ring elsewhere.

What if Lowry has completed his mini Eastern Conference title-chasing circuit and is ready to return to the Toronto Raptors? What if, rather than trying to get a second ring for his trophy case, he wants to come back to the franchise that loved him like no other, that gave him a chance when the league was done with him and helped him become a star and an icon? Basketball in Canada is about Vince Carter dunks and Kyle Lowry charges. There is something special in being the best player in the history of a franchise.

Lowry is good enough to sign on a contending team and try for another title, but even if he were to win one it brings a different sort of emotion. He may be remembered as a key veteran on such a team, a Shaun Livingston or Gary Payton.

In Toronto, however, he will be adored no matter how strong the team is. He brought that city and, honestly, the nation a ring. He, alongside Kawhi Leonard and Pascal Siakam and Marc Gasol and Fred VanVleet and Danny Green and Nick Nurse and Serge Ibaka brought a championship to Toronto, the only time in franchise history they even sniffed a title.

The Raptors have need of both a veteran voice and a backup point guard, and Lowry would fit perfectly. Signing him would not simply be an act of charity for a franchise legend; it would be a savvy move to fill a need this team has. The Raptors can better chase success if they add Lowry this summer.

Was Scottie Barnes getting in Lowry's ear at the WNBA announcement about coming back to Toronto? Did Lowry and Masai Ujiri exchange pleasantries alone or also discuss contract numbers? Did he take an opportunity to shop for houses while he was in town, just in case he came back?

It's a longshot, but everything seems to be a longshot in the NBA until it comes to pass. Lowry clearly still feels a strong connection to the city of Toronto and to its basketball fans. It would not be the craziest thing that has ever happened for him to hang up the ring-chasing shoes and put on his Raptors gear one more time.

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