Kyle Lowry enters the 2019-20 NBA season as a champion, and a pending unrestricted free agent.
But the Toronto Raptors point guard says he would love to re-sign with Canada’s only NBA team.
“I want to be there,” Lowry said in an interview with Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix. “I would love to do an extension, but we’ll see what happens… I would love to be there long term. We’ll have the discussion when the time is right.”
Lowry is currently in Las Vegas at USA Basketball’s camp ahead of the FIBA World Cup. The 33-year-old isn’t participating on the court yet, as his left thumb is still recovering from off-season surgery, but according to Mannix he will meet with doctors in a week to get an updated timeline for his recovery.
The 13-year NBA veteran is coming off his fifth-straight all-star season, where he averaged 14.2 points and 8.7 assists while shooting 41 per cent. He has one year remaining on a three-year, $100 million extension he signed in 2017 and will earn $33.2 million in salary, plus another $1.7 million in possible bonuses in 2019-20.
In the same interview, Mannix asked Lowry about Kawhi Leonard’s decision to leave the Raptors for the Los Angeles Clippers in free agency. Lowry said he didn’t do any recruiting after the NBA Finals — leaving the decision up to Leonard — but he added that he was happy for his friend, despite them no longer being teammates.
“Free agency is free agency,” Lowry told Mannix. “I love when NBA players get paid. I love the decisions guys are making for their happiness. At the end of the day, you have to be happy for them.
“[Leonard leaving] wasn’t a surprise. I’m always happy for guys, especially one that helped me do something fantastic. He’s a friend of mine and a good guy. He made a decision to go home, I’m genuinely happy for him. He gets a chance to be around his family and friends, you have to respect the guy and be happy for him.”
Finally, Lowry was asked about the Raptors’ chances to repeat as NBA champions despite losing Leonard. Ever confident, Lowry said he still plays for the team to beat.
“We’re still going to be able to run it back. We’re the champions and we’re trying to defend our title. I’m confident with our team,” he said. “We are the champions. No matter what, that will never be taken away from us. Never, ever.”