Kyle Lowry dodging calls and texts from president Masai Ujiri and coach Nick Nurse
Toronto Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry had been dodging calls and texts from team officials, including president Masai Ujiri and new head coach Nick Nurse after the franchise traded his best friend, small forward DeMar DeRozan — according to a report from Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca.
The Raptors traded DeRozan to the San Antonio Spurs for star small forward Kawhi Leonard. At team USA training camp in July, Lowry dodged all questions about DeRozan. At the team’s media day on Monday, Lowry said his job is to be a professional and do whatever it takes to win.
“I’m here to do my job,” said Lowry. “One thing about me is I’ve always been prepared to come in and try to win a championship. I’ve always been given an opportunity to go out there and do me, and come back ready to go, in shape, ready to play. My mindset never changes: Come to work for the Toronto Raptors, try to win a gold ball. That’s the same as it’s been since my first year here. That’s been my sentiment: Trying to win a gold ball here.”
Kyle Lowry and Kawhi Leonard spoke for the first time at media day. That’s a little bit of a concern given they are the two best players on the club. It’s evident Lowry is still upset at the Raptors for parting ways with DeRozan in the manner in which they did. Ujiri reportedly told DeRozan at summer league in Las Vegas he wasn’t going to move him.
Lowry has two years and roughly $65 million left on his contract, while Leonard can become an unrestricted free agent in 2019 if he declines his player option for the 2019-20 season. Lowry averaged 16.2 points, 5.6 rebounds and 6.9 assists per game last season and helped the Raptors secure the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference. Toronto, however, was swept by LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
Leonard only played in nine games last season due to a lingering quadriceps injury. The two-time Defensive Player of the Year requested a trade in the summer. At media day, Leonard said “winning games” is what it will take for the Raptors to have a chance to re-sign him in free agency.