Toronto Raptors CEO Says Team Will Re-Sign Kyle Lowry in Offseason

Joe Flynn@@ChinaJoeFlynnContributor IApril 5, 2014

Getty Images

Those Toronto Raptors fans hoping their team will sign star point guard Kyle Lowry in the offseason can rejoice: Tim Leiweke feels the same way.

Unlike the casual fan, however, Leiweke probably has a say in the matter. He is the president and CEO of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, the group which owns the Raptors, as well as the Toronto Maple Leafs, the MLS club Toronto FC and the building the Raptors play in, the Air Canada Centre. 

Leiweke recently appeared on George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight, and the host asked him point blank if the Raptors will re-sign Lowry after the season. Leiweke's response: an unequivocal "yes":

There's a really special bond between [Raptors general manager] Masai [Ujiri] and Kyle. And there's a special bond...I mean, this town should be in love with this guy. He's been a great story.

Indeed, Lowry's incredible play this season has been a tremendous story...not just for Toronto, but for the entire NBA. The 27-year-old guard had previously bounced around the league, from Memphis to Houston to Toronto. He was traded to the Raptors in July 2012 for Gary Forbes and a first-round pick.

But Lowry has been a revelation for Toronto this season, averaging 17.4 points, 7.6 assists and 4.8 rebounds per game coming into Friday. He has been the leader of a Raptors team on the cusp of winning their first Atlantic Division title since 2006-07.

Though he didn't make his first All-Star team, Lowry has been one of the most valuable players in the league this year, according to the National Post's Eric Koreen:

Lowry has been one of the most important players in the league this year, with no asterisks. The top nine players in terms of win shares this season: Kevin Durant, James, Kevin Love, Stephen Curry, Blake Griffin, Chris Paul, Lowry, James Harden and Anthony Davis.

That is eight players that any NBA team would try desperately to acquire and build around, as well as Lowry. It is just one statistic, but he has been absurdly valuable.

Lowry will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. How much will he garner on the open market? It's difficult to say, especially given his shaky history coming into this season. 

No matter how many teams compete for Lowry's services, however, the Raptors figure to be prominently involved. He has absolutely transformed this long-dormant franchise during the 2013-14 season. If Toronto hopes to compete in the near future, they will have to make Kyle Lowry an offer he can't refuse.

*All statistics are courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted.


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.