Toronto Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry dispelled rumors that he is looking to be moved ahead of the upcoming March 25 trade deadline, and said that he has yet to talk to the front office about any changes.
There has been no shortage of chatter from various reporters that Lowry may change teams in the coming weeks, with Ryen Russillo of The Ringer going so far as to say Lowry had been telling "everyone" for months that he would be traded. Lowry indirectly dispelled that report through social media, and followed up on it during a press conference with reporters on Wednesday.
"It doesn't bother me because rumors are rumors. But when something is said that doesn't verbally come from me, and I haven't said anything like that, (that's when I addressed it)," Lowry said. "Did you have me on record saying that? I wanna know who the source is, because the source is me."
And while Lowry stopped short of ruling out a move entirely since it's not solely within his control, the six-time All-Star did say that his relationship with the front office is strong, and that he has yet to hold a firm talk over his next steps, whether that is before the trade deadline, or when he hits unrestricted free agency at the end of the season.
"Myself, Masai (Ujiri), Bobby (Webster), my agent, when it comes time to that point, the conversation will be had. But for now I'm just worrying about what we're going to do in the second half of the season and continuing to grow as a team, and how (I can) help Freddy (VanVleet), Pascal (Siakam), OG (Anunoby), Norm (Powell), Chris Boucher, Terence Davis, Stanley Johnson, get these guys going a lot more and get them better," Lowry said.
From the Raptors' perspective, there is a case to be made both in keeping or in trading Lowry. For the first time in eight seasons, the Raptors don't appear to be a lock for the playoffs, and Lowry will turn 35 in a few weeks (ironically, on the same day as the trade deadline) and moving him to a contender could give the Raptors more pieces to build with if they don't feel confident in making another run with Lowry.
On the flip side, Lowry is a franchise icon, he is just as productive as he was a decade ago, and showed in last year's playoffs that he is still the team's best player when all the chips are down. It also can't be overstated how much Lowry embodies the Raptors' identity — his competitiveness defines the ethos of the organization, his leadership is fundamental in the development of the team's prospects that have now grown into starters, and his significance to the fanbase rivals that of any athlete in Toronto both currently and historically.
"At the end of the day, my biggest goal is to help this team get as far as we possibly can, we're always chasing the gold ball no matter what people say, or what our record says. That's always he ultimate goal for me is to take it day by day and help this team get to that gold ball," Lowry said.
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