Contract negotiations between Lowry, Raptors ‘an ongoing conversation’

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Kyle Lowry is considered by many to be the most important player in the history of the Toronto Raptors and now the club is working to keep the revered point guard beyond this season.

Lowry, whose contract expires at the end of the 2019-20 campaign, told reporters during Saturday’s Media Day that he’s in negotiations with the club.

It was speculated that the Raptors could trade Lowry, Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka in an effort to accelerate a rebuilding effort — an idea that president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri flatly rejected Saturday.

Ujiri told reporters that Lowry earned legacy status with the franchise, which ought to factor into the contract discussions.

A championship run is certainly draining and Lowry admitted he’s not at 100 per cent, with the Raptors opening the regular season in less than a month against the New Orleans Pelicans on Oct. 22.

“I’m not where I want to be physically or mentally yet,” Lowry said.

Lowry submitted a defining performance in Game 6 of the NBA Finals, with an opening first-quarter barrage that set the tone, finishing the contest with 26 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds. Winning is addictive, and Lowry is dead-set on defending the Larry O’B.

There is a notion that the Raptors haven’t earned the respect that most defending champions usually gain. Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green left in free agency and most analysts believe that the reigning Finals MVP’s departure rules out the Raptors’ viability of defending the title.

Lowry couldn’t care less.

Lowry is at the latter end of his career. With a championship in tow and his legacy with the franchise secure, all he needs is one last contract with the Raptors as the club looks forward to a new, defining chapter.

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