NBA
July 28, 2021

Here's Why Kyle Lowry Won't Return to Toronto Raptors

With the start of free agency less than two weeks away, point guard Kyle Lowry is set to hit the open market

The Raptors guard will have the opportunity to explore his options to cement the next (final?) chapter of his NBA career. The six-time All-Star is coming off another highly productive campaign, averaging 17.2 points, 7.3 assists, and 4.6 rebounds while shooting 43.6% from the floor and 39.6% from beyond the arc. 

Although Lowry played the fewest number of regular-season games in a decade, he remains one of the league’s top point guards. The 35-year-old will be a significant factor regardless of where he plays next in his career. 

The only thing that is becoming evidently clear is that it won’t be with the Toronto Raptors. Here's why. 

Chance to Compete for Championship

Lowry is, of course, looking to make the most out of the remaining time he has in the league.

It’s not clear how much longer he will play, but he will certainly want to spend that time playing on a contender with a realistic chance to compete for a championship. The Raptors may possess a solid core group alongside Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet, but they're clearly not competing for an NBA title in the Eastern Conference.

The Raptors' roster doesn't boast nearly the same talent as the Milwaukee Bucks, Brooklyn Nets, Boston Celtics, Philadelphia 76ers, and Atlanta Hawks. And the No. 4 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft won't necessarily help them make a playoff push this season, either. 

Yes, he’s extremely appreciative of his time with the Raptors, highlighted by winning an NBA title, but it’s time to move on to greener pastures. 

Natural Pull To Play With Hometown 76ers

As Lowry enters his 16th season, he holds the opportunity to dictate the next chapter of his career.

It opens the door to him potentially heading home to play for the 76ers. The franchise could use an upgrade in the backcourt after Ben Simmons’ porous offensive showing in the playoffs.

Philadelphia wants to maximize Joel Embiid’s prime to compete for an NBA title, and there is plenty of doubt that playing alongside Simmons will accomplish that. Meanwhile, Lowry holds the skill set that may fit more smoothly with Embiid while possessing the championship experience. 

Much needs to unfold first, but if the chance to play with the Sixers unfolds, it’s hard to see him pass it up.

The Writing is on the Wall

Yes, the Raptors could offer Lowry the most lucrative deal due to holding his bird rights, but there is a clear understanding of the situation. 

Shortly following the trade deadline this past season, the Raptors were reportedly “optimistic” they could put together a sign-and-trade to get Lowry where he wants to go. In other words, the team is showing its appreciation for what the star guard accomplished during his nine-year tenure.  

It’s not that Toronto doesn’t want him back, but rather knowing his best career move is playing elsewhere. 

Lowry will have plenty of options on a contender such as the Lakers or, as we previously mentioned, the 76ers. 

Photo: Getty Images