When the Toronto Raptors recently signed Kyle Lowry to a one-year contract extension, it wasn’t out of loyalty.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the Raptors signed Lowry to a one-year, $31 million extension to make it easier to trade the veteran point guard.
“A lot of the reason Toronto signed him to the deal (is) he is easier to trade under contract for next year at $31 million,” said Wojnarowski during a TV special.
“Absolutely,” replied Lowe. “At the trade deadline, there could be an exodus from their championship core.”
Why the Raptors Signed Lowry to an Extra Year
Adding on that extra year of security means a championship contender would be more inclined to acquire the veteran point guard via trade. According to Woj, four teams would emerge as suitors to acquire Lowry — the Los Angeles Clippers, Minnesota Timberwolves, Miami Heat and Detroit Pistons.
Lowry is coming off his first NBA championship as the starting point guard of the Raptors last season. While Toronto is considered the defending champs, they lost their franchise piece, Kawhi Leonard, during the offseason.
In fact, according to Odds Shark, the Raptors have just the 12th-best odds of winning the championship in the 2019-20 season. The ESPN Summer Forecast panel was even harsher on the Raptors, projecting them to finish as the sixth seed with a 45-37 record just a year after finished as the second seed in the Eastern Conference.
In other words, if the bottom falls out rather quickly, the Raptors will become major sellers at the trade deadline. Veteran holdovers such as Lowry, Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka will be traded by the February trade deadline.
Now we know why the Raptors elected to give a 33-year-old point guard a contract extension north of $30 million — for franchise gain.
Andre Iguodala Wants to Sign with Lakers or Clippers
And in other veteran news, Andre Iguodala — who is still under contract with the Memphis Grizzlies — is already thinking of his next NBA destination.
We’re all well aware that the Grizzlies are merely holding onto Iguodala as a trade piece. However, in the scenario that Memphis can’t find a trade suitor and elects to instead buy out the 35-year-old veteran, the Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers are Iguodala’s two preferred destinations, according to Adrian Wojnarowski on The Lowe Podcast.
Via Christian Rivas of The Silver Screen and Roll:
“It’s the two L.A. teams. It’s the Lakers and the Clippers, and there is a buyout at some point and if Memphis can’t trade him, that’s where that will come down to — those two teams.”
The Grizzlies are actively pursuing trades for the former Finals MVP, via The Daily Memphian:
Iguodala will remain on the Grizzlies roster, likely well into the season. However, the team agreed the veteran can continue private workouts at a location of his choosing while Memphis pursues trades involving the former Golden State Warrior and NBA Finals MVP.
There is a mutual understanding, per sources, that the situation may not reach a resolution until well into the season. On December 15, players who signed as free agents this summer will be eligible to be traded, potentially expanding the range of possible deals. The NBA trade deadline is February 6th.
One thing is for certain — Iguodala will end the season on a team not named the Grizzlies. The question is, will he be traded or bought out? If he’s bought out, he could end up on either the Lakers or Clippers. If he’s traded, the Lakers and Clippers might be less inclined to acquire the veteran forward.