Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry stressed multiple times Wednesday night that he doesn’t know what’s going to happen between now and 3 p.m. Thursday. AND NBA Trade Deadline.
But that didn’t stop the last-minute effort in the 135-111 victory over the Denver Nuggets. The greatest player in the history of the Raptors franchise spoke to the media about what would likely be his last time in a Toronto uniform.
It was a little weird today, not knowing what the next step would be, just understanding that there are things to do, Lowry said. Today was certainly different.
I mean, who knows what will happen? Nobody knows what’s going to happen. Mais c’était vraiment différent, bien sûr.
Although the Raptors’ win ended a nine-game losing streak and gave them their first win since Week 26, the Raptors are still in the hunt. February’s postgame focus was almost entirely on what would happen Thursday if the Raptors did not play and instead potentially traded two strong teammates who have managed to lose in recent years in Lowry and guard Norman Powell.
Both players have expiring contracts, and with Toronto trailing in the East standings and playing in Tampa, Florida, in the middle of the season due to the ongoing COWID-19 pandemic, they are among the key players who could change teams Thursday.
That was reason enough for Canadian icon – and big Raptors fan – Drake to FaceTimme Lowry in the middle of a post-game media session and offer to translate his answers for the media – an offer Lowry declined.
Lowry began his press session by welcoming five women from Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment – Megan McPeak, Kia Nurse, Kate Byrnes, Amy Odibert and Kayla Gray – who previously made up the NBA’s first female broadcasting team. He spoke fondly of his time in Toronto. He talked about how he found a home with the Raptors after the early years of his career, the team that made him a star and future Hall of Famer and with whom he won a championship two years ago.
Well, I think if you go back, [then-Raptors general manager] Brian Colangelo traded me to be a point guard – unfortunately they missed Steve Nash – and he traded me to be a point guard, Lowry said, referring to the trade that brought him from Houston to Toronto in 2012. The deal was that I would get the keys. And frankly, I wanted to enjoy it.
I think it just, it’s more leaning on the fact that, like, you know, they believed in me, right, the organization believed in me from top to bottom … everything, from top to bottom, they believed in me and what I can do as an individual player and as a leader, so I think that really helps, you know, put it all together.
The same feelings about Lowry’s time in Toronto were felt by his teammates and coaches, who all left for Toronto after Lowry.
We really grew together, Raptors coach Nick Nurse said. When I came here, I was a rookie in the NBA, and he was kind of a non-starter, kind of a legitimate starter.
So I think that progression has allowed Kyle Lowry to become a six-time All-Star, an Olympic gold medalist and an NBA title, which is really incredible. And he has broken most or all of the Raptors’ records. He will go down in history as the greatest raptor of all time.
However, Lowry wasn’t the only Raptor to have to deal with him last night. Powell, who has only played for Toronto in his six NBA seasons, could also be moving on Thursday.
He said the strangest part of the days and weeks leading up to the deadline was not the media, but discussions with members of the Toronto organization about what it would mean for him to play elsewhere.
I didn’t watch SportsCenter, to be honest, Powell said. I really don’t see much. I mean, it’s weird around me. I feel like some people in the organization are always asking me what might happen, this, that, and the other. But I tell them the same thing every day. Some people in the organization, our medical staff, were emotional and stuff, and I told them to relax and calm down.
But that’s business. They make contact with people. … It doesn’t bother me at all. No matter what, I can’t talk about emotions that aren’t present right now. I’ll wait and see how the others do.
But Lowry’s is different. His transformation from NBA underdog to All-Star and champion reflects the evolution of the Raptors from a forgotten franchise to a consistent winner in recent years. Although he and his teammates haven’t played in Toronto in over a year, that creates a bond that gives the events on Thursday extra meaning.
Lowry, who said in an earlier media session that he would remain with the Raptors no matter what happens at the trade deadline or this summer in free agency, turns 36 on Thursday.
He said he hopes to play golf and will have his phone with him, but will wait to see what his agent, Mark Bartelstein, has to say when he calls him instead of looking at his phone and waiting to see what happens.
Whatever he heard, Lowry said he will be at peace with the jersey he wears after Thursday’s deadline.
Whatever it was, honestly, he said. That’s right. Anyway. After all, everything happens for a reason. You can’t control everything, and in some situations you can, but all the decisions I’ve made and all the choices I’ve made have worked out very well for me, and everything is going to be fine.
Everything works out in the end, no matter what.
And when he’s no longer in Toronto, Lowry will leave an indelible mark on the franchise he’s built over the past eight seasons.
I typed as much praise as I could. The comment I always make, which I consider the biggest compliment to him, is that he plays harder than anyone else.
On the field, when he’s coaching, or training against him, or watching games or whatever, he plays harder than anyone else. I can’t give him a bigger compliment than that.
frequently asked questions
Is the trade deadline more important than the NBA?
The 2021 NBA trade deadline ends Thursday at 3 p.m. and we’re starting to see a lot of movement from teams looking to contend for the championship or secure building blocks for the future.
Was Kyle Lowry traded to the Raptors?
Michael Grange, Alvin Williams and Brad Fay react to the news that Kyle Lowry was not traded at the NBA trade deadline and will remain with the Toronto Raptors.
Who did the Raptors trade for Kyle Lowry?
2012-13 season at 11. In July 2012, Lowry was traded to the Toronto Raptors in exchange for Gary Forbes and a future first round pick.
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