The Toronto Raptors have been a competitor for the past few seasons with Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan leading the charge. They’re a talented team often picked to make it to the Eastern Conference Finals.
Unfortunately, they’re playing in the same conference as one LeBron James, so the East Finals is the only Finals they’ll be playing in.
“They’ve got LeBron James,” said Lowry during the Raptors playoff series against the Cleveland Cavaliers. “Nobody’s closing the gap on him. I mean, that’s it right there: They’ve got LeBron James and nobody’s closing the gap on him.”
The Cavs swept the Raptors 4-0 in that series, which may prove to be Lowry’s final games in a Toronto uniform. The 31-year-old has $12 million left on his deal with the Raptors and the option to re-sign on a five-year, $205 million deal, but he has opted out to test the waters of free agency.
Lowry will still be able to earn a good bit elsewhere, but at $152 million for four years, he certainly won’t be hurting. Additionally, Lowry will have the option of playing in the Western Conference, where he feels he has a better chance of reaching his end goal.
“A ring,” said Lowry. “Nothing else. I just want a ring.”
But where to go?
If you want to win in the West, there’s two obvious options: Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs. If another star goes to the Warriors, I’ll lose it. Fortunately, they can’t afford him. The Spurs, on the other hand, might want the help with the new uncertainty surrounding Tony Parker after the injury.
Lowry will be hurt, however, by the strength of the point guard market this offseason. Stephen Curry is going to resign with the Warriors, of course, but after him, Chris Paul gets first take on teams, and early indications show that he may be leaning towards the Spurs.
Lowry will also need to compete with slightly-less-expensive players such as Jrue Holiday, George Hill, Jeff Teague, Rajon Rondo, and Patty Mills. The draft is equally deep in terms of guard talent.
So, can the 31-year-old Lowry convince a contender to take him in and pay that hefty salary? He’s worth it, but he may have to take a nice cut to play for a ring in 2018.