The road for Kyle Lowry has definitely had its ups and downs. From being considered a potential franchise player, to clashing with coaches and teammates, Lowry has grown and become the star many predicted he’d become. How could the Raptors possibly live without him, right? Well, they might have to.
The former first round pick has been a staple in the Toronto Raptors organization since joining the team in 2012 via trade from the Houston Rockets. The team has made the playoffs in every year since acquiring him, with their last two seasons being considered two of the best runs they’ve had in the history of the franchise. Now, with Lowry opting out of the final year of his contract, Toronto must face a tough reality in a few months, and they must learn to live without their perennial All-Star.
Reasons To Stay
Despite the fact that Toronto is where he made a name for himself. Despite the great relationships with his coaches and teammates. Despite his best friend DeMar DeRozan signing long term last off season, it’ll make sense if Lowry signs elsewhere on July 8th, and Toronto’s may have to live with that reality.
Why He Won’t
Yes, Toronto is the only team that can offer him a max contract, but there’s one X factor that could drive Kyle away. The one that has every player questioning everything. Questioning playing in the Eastern Conference, and frankly playing at all: LeBron James.
Seems silly, right? Really think about it, seriously.
LeBron is going as strong as ever, in his 14th year on the NBA! The scary part? He isn’t slowing down a bit. What player in NBA history has put up career numbers in rebounds and assists in their 14th year in the league? Nobody! He’s not human, and this will be what Lowry will have to deal with for at least the next 4 years if he stays in the east.
Could he face the same reality in the West against the Golden State Warriors? Sure. But in order to truly know, he’s got to at least give it a shot. Chances are, Golden State and Cleveland are going to be the top of their conferences for the next few years. They may even meet up in the finals a few more times in a row! (Ya, get used to it) But at some point, Lowry may have to face the reality that he probably won’t beat LeBron. The best way to win without facing him? Changing conferences and at least making the finals.
Why It Makes Sense
There are plenty of contenders in the west who could use his services. There are tons of teams on the upswing that he would help immensely. And let’s be honest, there’s no way Golden State can keep that roster forever. So, his best bet: get out of the east and hope you miss him if you make the finals.
It sounds insane, and somewhat cowardly to a certain extent, but can you blame the guy? Put it this way: there’s a reason guys like Charles Barkley and Karl Malone never won an NBA championship – Michael Jordan. LeBron James is doing the exact same thing to players like Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard, Chris Paul, Kyle Lowry.
Eventually people will start realizing that this is LeBron James’ world, and until he retires, we’re all just living in it.