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Kyle Lowry on free agency priorities: ‘A ring. Nothing else. I just want a ring’

Golden State Warriors v Toronto Raptors

TORONTO, ON - DECEMBER 05: Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors is congratulated by Kyle Lowry #7 of the Toronto Raptors during an NBA game at the Air Canada Centre on December 05, 2015 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)

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Kyle Lowry said before the season he’d decline his $12 million player option and expect the Raptors to treat him like a franchise player.

Today, Lowry confirmed he’d opt out – but gave a different priority for free agency.

Blake Murphy of Raptors Republic:

I don’t believe this is true. If it were, he’d sign a minimum-salary deal with the Warriors and back up Stephen Curry.

Lowry surely wants to win. But every player on his level has always wanted to win on their terms – with a huge salary and major role. Some make concessions, giving up a little money and/or stature on the team. But winning a ring has never been the only priority for someone as good as Lowry. David West came closest, but he was far less valuable than Lowry when he signed with San Antonio then Golden State.

The practical question is where Lowry falls on the spectrum.

The Raptors face a narrow – maybe even closed – path to title contention with an expensive roster that doesn’t look particularly close to breaking through LeBron James and the Cavaliers. And Lowry knows it. But Toronto can also offer the most money, a projected $205 million ($41 million annually) over five years.

Other teams could offer up to a projected $152 million ($38 million annually). But few, if not no, plausible championship contenders will have max cap space.

Lowry doesn’t sound like someone returning to Toronto, but again, I don’t think he meant what he said. What did he mean? That’s a far more important, and far tough to answer, question.