Lowry, who turned 35 on Thursday, was the biggest trade target available leading up to this year’s deadline, with the six-time All-Star and championship-winning point guard being coveted by several contending teams. Lowry has remained one of the NBA’s best two-way guards this season, averaging 17.4 points and 7.5 assists per game while shooting 39% from 3-point range and continuing to be one of the top defensive guards in the league.
Ultimately, Raptors president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri didn’t find a package that compelled him to trade the franchise icon — and Lowry had always been fine with completing the season with Toronto, sources told ESPN.
Lowry, who will enter free agency this summer, posted on Instagram on Thursday night, “Today was a crazy day but the love I got from everyone has been amazing.” He added, “Thank you all for making it known I’m loved and for all the birthday wishes.”
In the weeks leading up to the deadline, Philadelphia and Miami were repeatedly linked with Lowry — giving him a chance to either go home to Philadelphia, where he starred at Villanova before entering the NBA, or to join his good friend Jimmy Butler with the defending Eastern Conference champion Heat.
In making trade offers for Lowry, teams had to take into consideration whether he would turn out to be a rental for the season or they would be able to meet his contract expectations to stay in free agency. That impacted how far teams were willing to go on him.
Lowry insisted Wednesday night that he didn’t know what was going to happen — and that he’d be fine with whatever did, including him potentially staying with the Raptors for the duration of this season.
“Whatever will be, will be, honestly,” he said. “That’s the truth. Whatever will be, will be. At the end of the day, everything happens for a reason. You can’t control everything, and in some situations you can, but every decision that has happened that I’ve had a choice in doing has worked out for me very well, and everything will be fine.
“At the end of the day, everything will be fine no matter what happens.”
Ultimately, what happened was him staying with the Raptors.
It’s been a disappointing season for Toronto, which snapped a nine-game losing streak with an emphatic win over Denver on Wednesday night — a game in which Lowry was plus-42. The Raptors, who are playing this season in Tampa, Florida, because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, sit 1.5 games behind the Chicago Bulls for 10th place in the Eastern Conference standings.
Beyond Lowry, the Raptors also traded Norman Powell — another expiring contract — to the Portland Trail Blazers for Gary Trent Jr. and Rodney Hood, sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Trent, a restricted free agent, should fit in very nicely alongside Toronto’s young core of Fred VanVleet, OG Anunoby and Pascal Siakam moving forward, as Toronto officially moves on from the group that won the title two years ago and shifts into the organization’s next era.
Toronto also made two minor moves, shipping guards Terence Davis and Matt Thomas to Sacramento and Utah, respectively, for future second-round picks, sources told Wojnarowski.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski contributed to this report.
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