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Nick Nurse Says Kyle Lowry Will 'Go Down as Maybe the Greatest Raptor'

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistMarch 25, 2021

Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry (7) moves the ball against the Denver Nuggets during the second half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, March 24, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

It sure seems like Kyle Lowry has played his last game for the Toronto Raptors.   

"He'll go down as maybe the greatest Raptor, I think," head coach Nick Nurse told reporters following Wednesday night's 135-111 win over the Denver Nuggets.

It's the sort of comment you might make if a player is about to be dealt amid rampant rumors before Thursday's NBA trade deadline.

And then there was this:

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Could this be Kyle Lowry's final game with the Raptors? (via @TSN_Sports) https://t.co/3q5ZIt7cjk

All of the reporting around the Raptors and the trade deadline suggests he could soon be gone:

Adrian Wojnarowski @wojespn

Sources: Raptors discussing Kyle Lowry and Norman Powell deals on multiple fronts and those talks are expected to extend into Wednesday --- and perhaps even Thursday. Philadelphia, Miami are interested in Lowry, but both have shown restraint in how far they'll go to get a deal.

Barry Jackson @flasportsbuzz

Toronto continues to push for Tyler Herro in proposed Lowry deal, it was reiterated to me today. As we've noted, hard to justify that for player turning 35 Thursday, albeit it a very good one

Keith Smith @KeithSmithNBA

Woj said not to rule out the Lakers for a Kyle Lowry trade. WHAT?

Jake Fischer @JakeLFischer

Of note regarding the Kyle Lowry-Lakers rumors: It seems Los Angeles became open to discussing all of Dennis Schroder, Montrezl Harrell and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope with rival teams as of Monday night, and that chatter has not since quieted among league executives.

Jordan Schultz @Schultz_Report

League sources say that the #Raptors - with highly coveted trade targets Norman Powell and Kyle Lowry - are “holding up” much of the league because of huge asking prices for Powell and Lowry.

If Lowry did play his last game for the Raptors, his final stat line was perfectly indicative of the impact he's had throughout his years in Toronto: eight points, nine assists, five rebounds, a block and a game-high plus-42 rating. 

"He plays harder than anyone I've ever seen," Nurse told reporters Wednesday. "There's no higher compliment I can give than that."

Lowry may not have always stuffed the stat sheet, but he's been a huge reason why the Raptors played in seven straight postseasons and won the title in 2018-19. 

The six-time All-Star joined Toronto in 2012 and played his best basketball for the Raptors, averaging 17.6 points and 7.1 assists per game in his nine seasons with the organization. Before Lowry, the team had reached the postseason just five times and had only one playoff series win to its name.

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Since his arrival, they've been a perennial threat. 

But with Lowry set to hit free agency after the season and the struggling Raptors (18-26) building around the talented young trio of Fred VanVleet, Pascal Siakam and O.G. Anunoby, a split before this year's trade deadline makes sense for both sides. 

Lowry can chase another title with a contending team. The Raptors can focus on utilizing their cap space and assets to build around their young trio.

"We've got something that we'll always have, which is that championship run, and that'll always bond us and connect us together," Nurse told reporters.

All good things come to an end. But Lowry will forever be a Raptors legend. 

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