Kyle Lowry doesn’t want to re-sign with the Toronto Raptors.
No, wait. Actually, he does.
Okay, we’re not sure.
Bruce Arthur of the Toronto Star reported that, as of mid-May, people around the league were being informed Lowry had “zero interest” in returning to the Raptors:
Still, things can change. That’s what Ujiri is facing. Even if the organization did manage to make a deal for a big-time player, Kyle Lowry is a free agent, and multiple league sources say the all-star point guard has been grumbling about dissatisfaction with the Raptors for months. As of mid-May other teams were being told Lowry had “zero interest” in returning to Toronto, even if the Raptors offered a maximum five-year deal. Which since the club had no intention of offering a five-year deal probably made Lowry’s declaration easier to make.
This is damning for the Raptors. Paying max or near-max money for a 31-year-old Lowry isn’t ideal, but losing him for nothing is worse.
Only, Lowry doesn’t sound like someone who’s itching to leave. He clapped back at the report on Twitter:
I dont do this ever but :
Don't believe what you hear !! Especially if it didn't come from me, and that bs FOR SURE didn't come from me..GN
— Kyle Lowry (@Klow7) June 20, 2017
This is Negotiating 101, folks. Never isolate someone who is willing to pay you a lot of money—and most definitely don’t rule out the employer who can offer you more coin than anyone. This applies to Lowry now more than ever, since some of his leverage faded with the Philadelphia 76ers’ acquisition of the No. 1 overall pick from the Boston Celtics. They were considered a threat to max him out, but they’re bound to draft Markelle Fultz, eliminating any impulse they had to poach him from Toronto.
At the same time, Lowry didn’t need to clarify his stance. There will be other teams—like the Dallas Mavericks and Denver Nuggets, perhaps—willing to go the distance for his services. If he was truly unhappy with the Raptors, who could have let the chatter stew a bit before delivering his rebuke, or he could have done nothing at all.
Does Lowry want to stick with the Raptors? Maybe. Maybe not. He seemed genuinely frustrated that they’re unable to get through LeBron James each year. Still, it’s a stretch to believe he’s made any sort of decision.
At worst, he’s undecided.
At best, he’s not going anywhere, and he knows it, and he’s prepared to embrace it.