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Rumor: Kyle Lowry telling people Raptors will trade him

Raptors guard Kyle Lowry

Jan 14, 2021; Tampa, Florida, USA; Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry (7) celebrates a made shot during the fourth quarter of a game against the Charlotte Hornets at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mary Holt-USA TODAY Sports

Mary Holt-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Lowry reportedly wants the Raptors to trade him to the 76ers, and Toronto reportedly wants to do right by the point guard if he prefers to move on. Lowry’s agent, Mark Bartelstein, denied that and said Lowry was focused on helping the Raptors the rest of the season.

But these rumors just won’t die.

Ryen Russillo on The Bill Simmons Podcast:

The word on that one is that Lowry has been telling everybody for over a month that he is getting traded.

Lowry is the greatest player in Raptors history and has poured his heart into the team. But you must understand his relationship with the franchise. Even after winning the 2019 championship, Lowry reportedly demanded a trade or contract extension. (He got the extension.)

It’s also unclear whether this is preference or prediction by Lowry. After all, the Raptors have repeatedly considered trading him over the years. Lowry – on an expiring contract – might just expect Toronto to move him, whether he likes it or not.

A trade might make sense for all sides. The Raptors could get good return before Lowry hits unrestricted free agency this summer. Lowry could join a championship contender. And another team could get a top-notch point guard.

But even if Lowry has been saying this for more than a month, situations can change quickly.

The Raptors have spent much of the season lower in the standings. They’re now eighth in the Eastern Conference with plenty of upward mobility. They might now prefer to keep Lowry for the stretch run, and he might be more amenable to sticking with a team more primed to compete in the postseason.

Though the Raptors announced they’ll finish the season in Tampa – which would prevent Lowry from getting the Toronto sendoff he deserves – it’s theoretically possible the Raptors play playoff games in Toronto. Coronavirus cases are falling in the United States and Canada as vaccinations and natural immunity increase and the weather warms.

So, even if Lowry has been telling people he’ll get traded, it’s a far more complex picture what that means.