Toronto Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry repeatedly insisted Wednesday night that he doesn’t know what will happen between now and Thursday’s NBA trade deadline at 3 p.m. ET.
But that didn’t stop an air of finality from hanging over the proceedings following a 135-111 win over the visiting Denver Nuggets, as the greatest player in Raptors franchise history spoke to the media. for what will probably be his last time in Toronto. uniform.
“It was kind of weird tonight not knowing what the next step would be, just understanding that there are things that could possibly be done,” Lowry said. “It was different tonight, for sure.
“I mean, who knows what’s going to happen? Nobody knows what’s going to happen. But it was definitely different.”
Although the Raptors’ victory snapped a nine-game losing streak, giving them their first win since February 26, the focus after the game was almost exclusively on what will happen on Thursday, when the Raptors will not play a game, but potentially they will do it. trade two stalwarts from the team’s massively successful career of recent seasons at Lowry and point guard Norman Powell.
Both players have contracts nearing expiration, and with Toronto plummeting in the Eastern standings and in the middle of a season in Tampa, Florida due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, they enter Thursday as two of the best. players to potentially switch. equipment.
It was a big enough occasion for Canadian icon, and frequent Raptors fan on the court, Drake spoke to Lowry via FaceTime in the middle of Lowry’s post-game media session, offering to translate his responses to the media. , an offer Lowry declined.
Lowry began his press session by greeting the five women of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment: Meghan McPeak, Kia Nurse, Kate Beirness, Amy Audibert and Kayla Gray, who previously became the NBA’s first all-female broadcast team. He spoke fondly about his time in Toronto. He talked about how, after a few bumpy early years of his career, he found a home with the Raptors, the team that made him a star and future Hall of Famer and won a championship two seasons ago. .
“Well I think if you go back, [then-Raptors general manager] Bryan Colangelo traded me to convert (unfortunately they lost Steve Nash) and traded me to become point guard, “Lowry said, referring to the trade that brought him to Toronto from Houston in 2012.” The exchange was made to give me the keys. And honestly, you know, I wanted to take advantage of it.
“I think it just clicked more on the fact that, you know, they believed in me, right, the organization believed in me from top to bottom … everyone from top to bottom believed in me and what I could. to do as an individual player and as a leader, so I think that would really help, you know, a little, you know, click everything, put everything together. “
The same sentimentality about Lowry’s time in Toronto also translated into his teammates and coaches, all of whom left for Toronto after Lowry did.
“We’ve really developed together,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said. “When I came here, I was new to the NBA and he wasn’t really a starting player, as a legitimate starter.
“So it’s been that growth to a six-time All-Star, an Olympic gold medal, and an NBA title, which is really incredible for Kyle Lowry, I think. Raptors records. I think he’s going to become the one. best Raptor of all time to date. “
Lowry, however, wasn’t the only one potentially facing his last night as a Raptor. Powell, who has played only for Toronto in his six NBA seasons, could also be on the move Thursday.
He said the strangest part of the days and weeks leading up to the deadline was not hearing his name in the media, but in conversations he has had with members of the Toronto organization about what it will be like for him to play elsewhere. .
“I haven’t been watching SportsCenter, to be honest,” Powell said. “I don’t really see a lot of things. I mean, it’s strange around me. I feel like, with some people in the organization, they always ask me what can happen, this, that, and the other. But I say the same thing every day. Some Of the people in the organization, our medical staff were excited and things like that, and I tell them to relax and calm down.
“But it’s a business. You build connections with people … It doesn’t really bother me in any way. Whatever happens, I can’t talk about emotions that aren’t here right now. I’m going to wait and see like everyone else.” .
However, things are different for Lowry, whose transformation from NBA bum to All-Star and champion has mirrored the Raptors’ rise from a forgotten franchise to one that has been a consistent winner over the past few seasons. That, despite the fact that he and his teammates haven’t played a game in Toronto in over a year, has forged a connection that adds additional meaning to what happens on Thursday.
Lowry, who has said in a previous media session that he will retire as a Raptor whatever happens at the trade deadline or this summer in free agency, will turn 36 on Thursday.
He said he hopes to play golf and will have his phone on, but will just wait to see what his agent, Mark Bartelstein, has to say when he calls, rather than looking at his phone and waiting to see what will happen.
Whatever he ends up hearing, Lowry said he’ll be at peace with whatever jersey he puts on after Thursday’s deadline passes.
“Whatever it is, it will be, honestly,” he said. “That’s the truth. Whatever it is, it will be. At the end of the day, everything happens for a reason. You can’t control everything, and in some situations you can, but every decision that has happened that I’ve had. The choice in making has worked very well, and everything will be fine.
“At the end of the day, everything will be fine, whatever happens.”
And, if he is no longer in Toronto, Lowry will leave an indelible mark on a franchise he has made his own for the past eight seasons.
“I have heaped all the praise that I could, [and] I certainly don’t mind doing that, “Nurse said.” My only comment that I always make, which I think is the highest compliment I give him, is that he plays harder than anyone I’ve ever seen.
“On the court training or coaching against or watching games or whatever, he plays harder than anyone I’ve ever seen. I can’t give him a bigger compliment than that.”