The 35-year-old shared announced his departure to Miami a few days earlier, before teams could make the deal official, in a post on social media.
On Friday, the deal was made official. As part of the sign-and-trade that sent Lowry to Miami, the Raptors received veteran point guard Goran Dragic and 21-year-old sophomore forward Precious Achiuwa in return.
“He will retire as a Raptor and his number will absolutely go up there,” said Larry Tanenbaum, Raptors governor and chairman of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, in an exclusive with The Athletic’s Jared Weiss on Thursday.
When the jersey retirement happens, Lowry – the Raptors’ all-time leader in assists (4,277), steals (873), three-pointers made (1,518) and triple-doubles (16) – will be the first player in franchise history to have his number retired.
Earlier in March, prior to the mid-season trade deadline, Lowry said that he planned to return to Toronto and retire a Raptor with a one-day contract if he was traded.
“I truly love Kyle,” said Tanenbaum. “When he made the decision, he called me and we talked about it and I was so happy for him because I know one day he’s going to come back.”
“I love his leadership. I love his intelligence. I love his passion.”
When he first arrived in Toronto in a trade deal from Houston, Lowry wore No. 3 for a season with big man Andrea Bargnani sporting No. 7 but the 6-foot guard changed to No. 7 the following year.
The Lowry-Raptors partnership has been a mutually beneficial nine-year run. The point guard’s best years, including six All-Star selections and an All-NBA selection in 2015-16, came with the Raptors, on the other hand, the franchise also enjoyed their most successful run with Lowry as their floor general.
During his nine years with the team, the Raptors clinched their long NBA title and Conference championship in 2019, won six of their seven division titles and recorded seven of their 12 postseason appearances.
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