TORONTO – Kyle Lowry isn’t going anywhere.
The veteran point guard who led the Toronto Raptors to their first post-season appearance in five years said Wednesday on Twitter he’s staying put.
“This ain’t Amir jersey y’all!! Lol….. it’s for the 2014-15 season cause Toronto will be my home city,” said Lowry, who added a picture of himself in a vintage Raptors jersey.
Lowry’s deal is US$48 million through four years with an opt-out after the third year, according to multiple reports. League rules restrict signings or trades until July 10, but players and their agents are allowed to confirm agreements.
Re-signing Lowry, the top point guard available in NBA free agency, was a No. 1 priority for the Raptors after a stellar season. The Raps finished a franchise-best 46-34 in the regular season to win the Atlantic Division before losing in seven games to Brooklyn in the first round of the playoffs.
Toronto’s resurgence can be in part credited to Lowry. The 28-year-old averaged career highs with 17.9 points-per-game and 7.4 assists-per-game. He was even better in the post-season, averaging 21.1 points against the Nets.
Lowry was spectacular in Game 5, scoring a career playoff high of 36 points.
After re-signing coach Dwane Casey to a three-year deal in May, Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri said Lowry was his next target.
“It’s very important (to re-sign Lowry) in terms of continuity,” said Ujiri. “Kyle has had a phenomenal year. I thought Kyle was a huge, huge key to our season. For me, negotiating is easy if we want Kyle to be here and Kyle wants to be here.”
The six-foot, 205-pound player was acquired by Toronto in a 2012 trade with Houston. He came to the Raptors with a reputation for being difficult and averaged just 11.9 points and 6.4 assists in his first year with the team.
But Lowry appeared to begin the 2013-14 season with a more positive outlook. By the time the team was cleaning out the locker-room Lowry’s teammates were referring to him as the Raptors’ heart and soul.
– With files from Lori Ewing.
© The Canadian Press, 2014