The shine hasn’t yet left the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy, but the Toronto Raptors could already be looking to go into a rebuilding period that may include a trade of Kyle Lowry.
The Raptors’ hopes at a title defense took a major hit when free agent Kawhi Leonard opted to join the Los Angeles Clippers and bring Paul George along with him rather than stay in Toronto and try for a repeat. Now, a new report from CBS Sports suggests that the Raptors may embrace the opportunity to rebuild as they face a slate of players moving into free agency and a suddenly much steeper path back to the NBA Finals.
The report noted that Leonard’s decision to leave the Raptors could trigger a “Toronto teardown” that could also spell the end of the road for guard Kyle Lowry who, along with Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka, would be a free agent next summer. The report noted that unless Toronto plans to re-sign all three, the smart move would be to trade them now.
Lowry may have the highest appeal out of the three, which would allow the team to avoid a difficult path to win the Eastern Conference again and allow them to move into a new era around promising young star Pascal Siakam. As The Inquisitr previously noted, the Raptors already declined the opportunity to trade Siakam in a deal that would have landed them both Paul George and Russell Westbrook, a sign of the team’s commitment to him.
NBA trade block: Russell Westbrook, Kyle Lowry and Kevin Love among 12 big-name players that could be moved
— CBS Sports NBA (@CBSSportsNBA) July 10, 2019
As CBS Sports noted, the timing could be perfect for the Raptors after taking home the city’s first-ever NBA title.
“Toronto has been a franchise that has resisted rebuilds in the past. Even when they appeared to have hit their ceiling, the Raptors kept themselves in contention, remained one move away, and trading for Leonard last offseason became that move,” the report noted. “The championship gives them some equity. They can play this thing out with house money and remain a good team until the next splash opportunity presents itself. But if they choose to go another way, all three of these guys would be pretty hot commodities on teams who find themselves where the Raptors were last summer — one move from contention.”
There is no indication if the Toronto Raptors may actually plan to trade Kyle Lowry — or Gasol or Ibaka, for that matter — but there would likely be a market for all three if the Raptors did opt to move into a rebuild.