Raptors, Lowry agree on $31 million extension

Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry (7) walks off the court nursing his left hand during first half NBA Eastern Conference semifinal action against the Philadelphia 76ers, in Toronto on Sunday, May 12, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

Kyle Lowry has signed a one-year, US$31-million extension with the Toronto Raptors, according to a U.S. media report.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski was first to report on the deal.

The 33-year-old Lowry, a five-time NBA all-star, was slated to become an unrestricted free agent after the 2019-20 season before agreeing on the extension.

Lowry, who came to the Raptors in a trade with the Houston Rockets in 2012, was one of the key players on Toronto’s run to its first NBA title last year.

The Philadelphia native averaged 14.2 points and 8.7 assists in 65 regular-season games last season.

His stats were better in the playoffs in many key categories. He shot 44.0 per cent from the field (Lowry was 41.1 in the regular season) and averaged 15 points in 24 playoff games.

Kyle Lowry and the Toronto Raptors have agreed on a $31 million, one-year extension that could keep him with the NBA champions through the 2020-21 season.

Agent Mark Bartelstein on Monday confirmed the agreement, which was first reported by ESPN. Lowry and the Raptors had been talking for some time about this, so the extension was not unexpected.

The star guard was entering the final year of a $100 million, three-year deal. But now he’ll bypass free agency next summer, and the short-term deal helps the Raptors keep the flexibility many teams will want going into what’s likely to be a massive free-agent summer of 2021.

Lowry is entering his 14th NBA season and his eighth with the Raptors, making him the longest-tenured player on the roster. He’s been an All-Star the last five seasons. He averaged 14.2 points and a career-best 8.7 assists last season while helping Toronto win its first NBA title.

Lowry said last month that winning one championship has whetted his appetite for another.

“I’m motivated even more than ever now,” he said. “When you get a taste of it, you always want it.”

He has been gratified by the Raptors’ success.

“I’ve been through the ups and downs,” he said. “I was able to help bring a championship here, from the time when they were talking about tanking for certain players. I’m not saying I’m the sole reason but I feel like I have a big part of it.”

Lowry has been dealing with the aftereffects of off-season thumb surgery. It kept him from playing for USA Basketball at this summer’s World Cup, and he isn’t playing in the Raptors’ preseason games this week in Japan against Houston.

But at media day last month, Lowry suggested he’ll be ready for the regular season. The Raptors get their championship rings Oct. 22 before facing New Orleans in the opener.

“I’m going to slow-roll it and make sure I’m fully ready to go when it’s time to go,” Lowry said.