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Kawhi Leonard’s choice to signal with the Los Angeles Clippers did not affect the bond he and Kyle Lowry constructed because the Toronto Raptors gained their first NBA championship.
Lowry instructed Sports activities Illustrated‘s Chris Mannix he messaged with Leonard all through the offseason previous to Leonard making his last choice, and he understood why the 2019 Finals MVP selected the Clippers:
“[Leonard leaving] wasn’t a shock. I am all the time glad for guys, particularly one which assist me do one thing incredible. He is a good friend of mine and a great man. He decided to go residence, I am genuinely glad for him. He will get an opportunity to be round his household and mates, you need to respect the man and be glad for him.”
Except for Leonard and Danny Inexperienced, who signed with the Los Angeles Lakers, the Raptors are principally rolling with final yr’s crew as they give the impression of being to defend their NBA title.
This time subsequent summer time, although, Toronto might look very completely different.
Lowry is an unrestricted free agent together with Serge Ibaka, Fred VanVleet and Marc Gasol. The five-time All-Star mentioned he is open to remain north of the border: “I need to be there. I might like to do an extension, however we’ll see what occurs … I might like to be there long run. We’ll have the dialogue when the time is correct.”
If current historical past is any indicator, president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri will put sentiment apart when the time involves both lengthen Lowry or let him depart as a free agent. Ujiri traded away a fan favourite in DeMar DeRozan to be able to land Leonard, which labored out fairly properly.
Reasonably than counting on the getting old trio Lowry (33), Gasol (34) and Ibaka (29), Ujiri might look to make use of the Raptors’ monetary flexibility to construct round VanVleet (25) and Pascal Siakam (25), who’s a restricted free agent in 2020.
It doesn’t matter what occurs with Lowry, the 33-year-old has arguably cemented himself as the very best participant in franchise historical past.