Toronto Raptors star Lowry to opt for NBA free agency
Los Angeles (AFP) – Toronto Raptors star Kyle Lowry said Monday he plans to opt out of the final year of his contract in order to pursue his goal of winning an NBA Finals championship.
Lowry, a three-time All-Star, has one year left on his four-year, $48 million deal with the Raptors but said he will seek free agency this summer to find a place on a championship calibre roster.
“A ring. Nothing else. I just want a ring,” Lowry told reporters as he explained his free agency priorities.
The 31-year-old was speaking after Toronto’s season came to a grinding halt with a 4-0 series defeat against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday.
Lowry averaged 22.4 points, 7.0 assists and 4.8 rebounds in 60 games this season, a campaign disrupted by a right wrist injury that needed surgery in February.
Raptors star DeMar DeRozan said he hoped Lowry may yet return to Toronto next season but told ESPN.com he would not lobby him.
“I didn’t call or pressure him the first time, and he didn’t do that to me,” DeRozan said. “I’m just gonna be there for him as a friend.”
Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri meanwhile said the franchise was preparing for a critical summer as they looked to remain competitive.
“The summer is huge,” Ujiri told ESPN.com. “But every summer is huge. We are trying to keep up with the big boys.”