PHILADELPHIA — Kyle Lowry has no desire to play for anyone but the Toronto Raptors. But if the All-Star guard is sent elsewhere between now and the NBA’s Thursday trade deadline, Lowry said he’ll have no hard feelings toward the team he has played for the past six-plus seasons.
“I think they will make decisions for themselves, and they’ll do what’s best for them,” Lowry told ESPN after scoring 20 points to go with six assists and two steals in a 119-107 win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday. “I don’t think there’s one thing I can say or do [to change that], you know what I mean?
“I think that’s just how they work, and they operate. They make moves, and they make moves for the best of the organization. If they do something that will be their feeling to whatever the organization thinks is best for them.”
Lowry has been discussed as a piece in a potential deal with the Memphis Grizzlies, sources confirmed to ESPN. He admitted he was surprised that his name had come up at all, and that he hasn’t been contacted by anyone in Toronto’s front office about a potential deal.
“No, I haven’t heard anything,” Lowry said. “Reassurance would be great, but at the end of the day, they don’t have to call me. My job is, as a player, to go out here and do my job. If they want to call me, that’d be great. I would appreciate it. But if they don’t, I understand.
“It’s a business. I know that’s such a cliche, but if they wanted to call me, I’m sure they would. I’ve been here six years, and I’ve given a lot to this organization. I’m sure if they were going to trade me, they’d say, ‘Hey, Kyle, this is what’s on the table.'”
Lowry, who was selected to his fifth straight All-Star team last week, is in the second year of a three-year, $100 million deal he signed last summer.
In an interview with ESPN’s Rachel Nichols in December, Lowry said of his relationship with Raptors president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri, “He’s the president of basketball operations, and that’s it. For me, I come here and do my job. … That’s where we stand.”
And while Lowry may not hold any ill will toward Ujiri for his name coming up in trade talks now, he said things are no different today than they were when he said that two months ago.
“It’s the truth, right? At the end of the day I said nothing that wasn’t true,” Lowry said. “That’s how I look at it. The relationship has always been the same. It’s been the same since I got here.
“Years ago, he challenged me to be a better basketball player. … That was his challenge. We haven’t been, ‘Rah-rah, buddy-buddy.’ … I keep a small circle, and that’s how I work, and how I operate. So, for me, it’s one of those things where I stay in my lane.”
Tuesday’s win left the Raptors with a 39-16 record, leaving them 1.5 games behind the Milwaukee Bucks for the top spot in the Eastern Conference. Toronto has managed to do that despite having its full roster available for just two games all season — wins in Phoenix on Nov. 2, and in Utah on Nov. 5.
That should change Thursday, when Jonas Valanciunas is set to return a little less than two months after dislocating his thumb against the Golden State Warriors. At least, that will be the case if the Raptors choose to stand pat at the deadline.
The Raptors have had Lowry and Kawhi Leonard on the court together in only 29 of those 55 games this season after Tuesday’s win — including just eight of Toronto’s past 27 contests. Lowry said that, once healthy, Toronto has enough to make a run at getting out of the East and to the NBA Finals for the first time in franchise history.
“I think we’re really good,” he said. “I think we’re really talented. I think once we get healthy, we’re a really dominant team. I think at the beginning of the season we showed what we can do, we just have to continue to grow and get healthy. That’s the biggest thing. Being healthy and being on the same page.”
And, despite not hearing from the front office, Lowry says he’s on the same page with them, too.
“No, not at all,” he said, when asked if he was upset he hadn’t heard from them about a possible deal. “It is what it is. If they call, they call.
“If they don’t, I understand.”