The All-Star point guard was a point of emphasis for Toronto, which needed to re-sign both Lowry and forward Serge Ibaka to avoid a rebuild. It's hard to think that the Raptors would want to pay Ibaka over $20 million per year without knowing that Lowry, their best player, is coming back.
Ibaka is one of only 13 players in National Basketball Association history to make 100 3-pointers and record 100 blocks in the same season; he did it last season, along with Karl-Anthony Towns, Kristaps Porzingis and Brook Lopez.
Why is that? According to an appearance that ESPN's Zach Lowe did on Bleacher Report's "The Full 48" podcast, teams are concerned about Ibaka's listed age. The point guard market probably wasn't as large or lucrative as he expected, but he's still going to earn a ton of money. Now Lowry can finish what he started with the Raptors and potentially get them deeper in the Eastern Conference Playoffs next season.
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It cited a United Nations expert panel as saying the company has violated a ban on trade in luxury goods with the North. Mnuchin, however, stressed at the press briefing that the sanctions were not directed at China.
So, all things considered, the Raptors will keep a valuable player and can keep this core around (the most successful one they've had) for a good duration. Lowry is 31 years old and his growth as a shooter suggests he should still play at close to an All-Star level at the back end of that deal.
Lowry averaged 22.4 points, 7.0 assists, 4.8 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 3.2 3-pointers per contest in 60 games during the regular season.
Additional offseason moves by the Raptors have already included extending a qualifying offer to restricted free agent Nando De Colo, selecting Ogugua Anunoby in the first round of the 2017 NBA Draft, and renouncing the draft right to DeAndre Daniels. Ibaka and Lowry share the same agent and I would imagine Ujiri has at least worked out the framework of what a new deal would look like for Lowry.
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