The Toronto Raptors have made sure Kyle Lowry’s stay with the franchise lasts just a bit longer.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Raptors and Lowry have agreed to a one-year, $31 million contract extension that will keep him from entering next year’s free-agent market. Lowry, who last signed an extension with the Raptors in 2017, has spent the last seven seasons in Toronto. Agent Mark Bartelstein on Monday confirmed the agreement to The Associated Press.
Per Wojnarowski, Raptors president Masai Ujiri, GM Bobby Webster and Lowry’s representation had been motivated to complete an extension for several months. Over the weekend, the sides closed in on a deal that allows Lowry to stay with the franchise he’s wanted to complete his career.
“We are so appreciative of how Masai and Bobby handled every aspect of this negotiation,” Bartelstein told ESPN. “Once again, they displayed how they look after their players in a first-class manner, especially someone like Kyle who they recognize has such a legacy with the franchise.”
In keeping Lowry in the fold, it gives Toronto a solid player to count on as it tries to figure out its next course of action this season and beyond. While Lowry will not be on the free-agent market next summer, veterans Marc Gasol, Fred VanVleet and Serge Ibaka are all in the final years of their respective contracts. Additionally, reigning Kia Most Improved Player winner Pascal Siakam will also be a free agent next summer. Per recent reports, Siakam is seeking a max contract extension from Toronto.
Lowry has been dealing with the aftereffects of offseason thumb surgery. It kept him from playing for USA Basketball at this summer’s World Cup, and he isn’t playing in the Raptors’ preseason games this week in Japan against Houston.
He said last month that winning one championship has whetted his appetite for another.
“I’m motivated even more than ever now,” he said. “When you get a taste of it, you always want it.”
He has been gratified by the Raptors’ success.
“I’ve been through the ups and downs,” he said. “I was able to help bring a championship here, from the time when they were talking about tanking for certain players. I’m not saying I’m the sole reason but I feel like I have a big part of it.”
Lowry is the Raptors’ all-time leader in steals and 3-pointers made and ranks second in assists while placing in the top 5 in several categories including points scored, games played and free throws made. He is a five-time All-Star and was named to the All-NBA third team in 2015-16.
The 2018-19 season began with him averaging over 10 assists per game through his first 23 games before lingering injuries brought upon a shooting slump that saw him held scoreless on Dec. 9. Through it all, Lowry remained steady, earning his fifth consecutive All-Star appearance as he ended the season averaging 14.2 ppg and 8.7 apg, the latter ranking second in the league behind Russell Westbrook.
In Toronto’s run to the 2019 NBA championship, Lowry was solid throughout that span. He averaged 16.2 points, 4 rebounds and 7.2 assists per game in The Finals, coming through with 26 points, seven rebounds, 10 assists and three steals in the Game 6 series-clincher.