Kyle Lowry

NBA rumors: Raptors could trade Kyle Lowry after $31M contract extension

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NBA rumors: Raptors could trade Kyle Lowry after $31M contract extension

The Warriors don't play the Raptors in an NBA Finals rematch until March, but they might see point guard Kyle Lowry before that. 

Toronto recently signed Lowry to a one-year, $31 million contract extension, pushing his free agency back one year to 2021. That doesn't mean he will be a Raptor for that long, though. 

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski said on "The Lowe Post" that "a lot of the reason Toronto signed him to the deal is he is easier to trade under contract for next year at $31 million."

It sounds like there could plenty of interest in the five-time All-Star from two intriguing Western Conference teams, too. While the two colleagues brought up the Heat and Pistons as possible destinations, Lowe and Wojnarowski also named the Clippers and Timberwolves. 

This certainly could spell bad news for the Warriors. The Clippers are trying to take Golden State's crown as the kings in the West with the additions of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, and Lowry could be the icing on the cake. 

Lowry played a key role for the Raptors on their way to winning their first championship in franchise history, averaging 16.2 points, 7.2 assists and 4.0 rebounds per game against the Warriors. 

Adding Lowry to the T-Wolves could be a tough pill to swallow for the Dubs, too. If the Warriors struggle without Klay Thompson as he rehabs his torn ACL and the new roster can't find chemistry, they could be fighting for playoff contention. Behind star big man Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota might be the team to make a leap this season.

[RELATED: Why Jay Williams believes Warriors will miss NBA playoffs]

With the departure of Leonard, the Raptors might fall in the Eastern Conference standings. It long has been speculated that president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri has wanted to tank to some degree and field a much younger roster. This could be the perfect season to do so. 

Shipping Lowry to a new team would start a fresh era of basketball in Toronto. If that team is in the Western Conference, the Warriors won't be happy.

How Kyle Lowry injury opens door for De'Aaron Fox to make Team USA roster

How Kyle Lowry injury opens door for De'Aaron Fox to make Team USA roster

Without taking another step onto a Team USA practice floor, De’Aaron Fox’s chances of making the FIBA World Cup roster just spiked dramatically.

Veteran point guard Kyle Lowry has withdrawn from consideration, leaving Fox and Kemba Walker as the only two remaining point guards on the roster with less than three weeks remaining before the opening match against the Czech Republic on Sept. 1.

“I was hoping [to] be cleared and ready for the tournament, but I was not cleared for full basketball activities,” Lowry said via Instagram. “I was hoping to be available in time to help my country in their quest for gold this coming tournament. I love playing for USAB, but I have to sit this one out and support the team from home. At the end of the day, I believe the men that are playing will be great and will win gold for our country...GO USAB!!”

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Lowry made an appearance at Team USA in Las Vegas last week, but he was still in a splint from offseason thumb surgery. While he wasn’t able to suit up, he still acted as a mentor to Fox as the camp progressed.

“They told me to come out here and play the way I play,” Fox said following the first day of camp. “Kyle [Lowry] was showing me some of the ropes and telling me never slow down, always play fast, but of course, be poised.”

Fox played his way into contention for a roster spot with his strong performance last week, including a 12-point, three-rebound, three-assist, three-steal, and two-block stat line for the Senior National Team in Friday’s scrimmage.

[RELATED: Kings' Kyle Guy celebrates birthday in style at NBA Rookie Photo Shoot]

With Lowry out of action and Kings forward Marvin Bagley opting to stay home, the roster is down to 15 players competing this week in Los Angeles for 12 spots. The door is open for Fox to not only make the FIBA World Cup squad, but to take on even a larger role with the team.

Raptors know stopping Splash Brothers essential, easier said than done

Raptors know stopping Splash Brothers essential, easier said than done

OAKLAND – No matter how remote the possibility might have been, the Toronto Raptors entered early portions of the NBA Finals fully prepared for Kevin Durant. The Warriors star was out with a right calf strain and wasn’t a real threat to return until later in the series, but dealing well with the world’s best offensive player takes tremendous effort, strategy and just maybe a little bit of luck.

The Raptors had to be prepared for that. They don’t any longer. Durant ruptured his Achilles tendon in the second quarter of Monday’s Game 5 return from the calf strain. He had successful surgery to repair the issue on Wednesday, and won’t play basketball for the foreseeable future.

Toronto still has a game to win for the NBA championship, leading three-games-to-two in the best-of-seven series. Now, the Raptors' focus shifts to stopping the Splash Brothers in Game 6 on Thursday at Oracle Arena.

Accomplishing that brings a title to Toronto. It’s as simple as that, though far tougher to execute.

“We’ve got to figure out a way to control those two,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said Wednesday. “There [are opportunities created] in transition. There are pin-downs. They're excellent at pushing off to create space. Their screens are long, wide and moving that they're coming around a lot. So you got to work doubly, triply hard sometimes. You got to absorb contact at the start. You got to absorb contact coming off the screen. Sometimes you put two on the ball screens. There's lots of stuff going on out there, but we do need to do better.”

That was evident in Game 5, when the Warriors rallied despite Durant’s devastating loss behind the NBA’s best guard combination.

Steph Curry and Klay Thompson torched Toronto for a combined 57 points on 19-of-44 shooting. There were 27 3-point attempts within that shooting sum, including Thompson’s torrid 7-for-13 showing beyond the arc.

That’s a winning formula for Golden State, which opens up space for Draymond Green and DeMarcus Cousins to get involved.

The Raptors understand the importance of making life hard on Curry and Thompson. Game 5 is fresh in everyone’s mind, but that was key in Golden State’s Game 2 victory as well. The duo combined to score 48 points, and Thompson was red-hot then, too.

[RELATED: Kawhi offers KD advice over long injury rehab process]

Toronto has put an emphasis on slowing those two down, early. Curry and Thompson finding rhythm on the same day is devastating to any opponent, and the two can create late-game heroics that push the Warriors to another victory.

“Stay locked in. I think they got loose last game,” Raptors guard Kyle Lowry said “Those guys are going to get off shots. They're going to get up their attempts. They're going to make shots. But you got to make them a little bit tougher sometimes. They got a couple of loose ball offensive rebounds, transition breakdowns.

“Listen, you're not going to stop them from shooting threes, but you can make them a little bit tougher and try to contest them better. There are a lot of things that we learned from that [Game 5] film that we feel like we could do a better job of.”