The Toronto Raptors, once habitual presences in the playoffs, couldn’t have picked a worse year to bottom out. With Kyle Lowry potentially leaving Canada for the first time in almost a decade, the Raptors didn’t make the most convincing of pitches to coax him into staying.
Lowry, a free agent at the end of this season, is still one of the most effective point guards in the game, averaging 17.2 points and 7.3 assists per game this season. That production has unfortunately done little to help the Raptors win, as circumstances beyond his control have forced Toronto to suffer through some rough stretches.
With the Raptors now out of the postseason, Nick Nurse has seen fit to give young players like Malachi Flynn and Jalen Harris the chance to strut their stuff at the pro level. Lowry, who has sat out the last few games, may have played his final game with this franchise to the surprise of many.
The injury report for Toronto’s season finale against the Indiana Pacers shows Lowry ruled as inactive, meaning that he could bolt in free agency and bring an end to a Raptors career that established him as the best player in franchise history.
Is this the end of Kyle Lowry’s career with the Toronto Raptors?
Lowry’s name is all over the Raptors’ franchise record book. In addition to the fact that he is second in games played behind DeMar DeRozan, Lowry is second all-time in points, while leading the franchise in assists, steals, and win shares. Not too bad for a player that was discarded by Memphis and Houston.
With two potential point guards of the future in Flynn and Fred VanVleet, the sky wouldn’t fall if the Raptors let Lowry go. The Miami Heat and Philadelphia 76ers have been mentioned as potential landing spots, as these two contenders could give Lowry the chance to link up with a friend in Jimmy Butler or come back home to Philly.
If his game against the Los Angeles Lakers was indeed his finale, what a finale it was. Playing against Talen Horton-Tucker, a player that forced LA not to acquire Lowry in a trade due to their refusal to give him up, Lowry totaled 37 points and 11 assists in an upset victory. Not a championship, sure, but at least he went down swinging.
Is genuinely heartbreaking that Lowry’s Raptors career may end like this, for two reasons. On top of the fact he won’t get to compete for a championship, he won’t get to say goodbye to the fanbase he loves so dearly in Toronto. Resigning would render all of these tributes obsolete, but that doesn’t seem very likely.