Toronto Star Classroom Connection

Lowry plans to end it here

Guard says he’ll cap career as a Raptor, but is adamant finish isn’t near


Kyle Lowry is a contrarian and he can be a pain in the butt and there’s always been a sense that he takes a great measure of pride in both those attributes.

But he’s also in the 18th year of an NBA career, he’s won one championship and played for another, he’s got an Olympic gold medal stored away somewhere, he’s as tough as he ever was, a leader and a gamer. If he doesn’t get in the Hall of Fame one day they may as well reduce the Hall of Fame to a pile of rubble because it will mean nothing.

And while he remains adamant that he will somehow retire as a Toronto Raptor, however ceremonious that will be, he’s also adamant that he has not close to arriving at that point yet.

“One thing about me is I’m a competitor. I might not be able to play 45 minutes a night but if I have the opportunity to play basketball and I can play, I want to be able to help,” Lowry said Wednesday morning at the Scotiabank Arena.

“I think I can still play at a high enough level where I can contribute to a team … and I’m still motivated to play. I still love this game, this game has given me so much and I feel like I can still help a team.”

Lowry may not be the Lowry of five or 10 years ago when he was in the process of building the Raptors into a championship team but he’s also not some doddering, old greybeard sticking around simply for sentimental value and to pick up a sizable cheque twice a month.

He’s started the first 20 games of the season for the Miami Heat and was averaging 9.4 points, 4.3 assists and 4.2 rebounds in almost 30 minutes a game heading into Wednesday’s outing against the Raptors.

But his contribution goes beyond the numbers.

“He’s given us a lot more of who he is and who he has proven to be as a decorated champion over the course of his career,” Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said.

“He knows how to play with the ball, without the ball. He knows how to impact the game defensively. He knows how to do a ton of winning plays when you get in close games and fourth quarters. That’s all that stuff we value and it leads to winning.”

Lowry, 37, will be a free agent next summer and he’s not sure how much longer he’ll want to play. His sons are getting older and he wants to spend more time with them. But a 20-year career has a nice ring to it and there’s no reason he can’t get to that number.

But whenever he decides to call it a career there are two specific points he wants known:

There will be no schlocky farewell “tour” and his last act as an NBAer will be to reach some kind of deal with the Raptors.

“No farewell today. Hell no. Not this year,” he joked Wednesday. “No (tour). Just like, ‘OK, y’all, peace.’ Sign with the Raptors for one day and it’s out.”

That sounds non-negotiable. “I’m definitely retiring as a Raptor. That’s something I’ve said since I left here. I will sign that (one-)day contract and I will retire as Toronto Raptor, that’s just how it’s going to be.”





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