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Kyle Lowry shot down free agency rumors that he has ‘zero interest’ in staying with Raptors

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That said, there’s still a good chance Lowry goes elsewhere.

NBA All-Star Game 2017 - Media Availability Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Kyle Lowry went on Twitter late Monday night to speak out against a rumor that he wasn’t interested in re-signing with the Toronto Raptors this summer.

“I don’t ever do this but: Don’t believe what you hear !!” Lowry wrote. “Especially if it didn’t come from me, and that bs FOR SURE didn’t come from me...[goodnight].”

Lowry’s tweet was in response to a column by Toronto Star columnist Bruce Arthur, who wrote the relentless two-way floor general had “been grumbling about dissatisfaction with the Raptors for months.”

As of mid-May other teams were being told Lowry had “zero interest” in returning to Toronto, even if the Raptors offered a maximum five-year deal. Which since the club had no intention of offering a five-year deal probably made Lowry’s declaration easier to make.

This report wasn’t the first to insinuate the All-Star guard would head elsewhere this summer. Lowry’s an unrestricted free agent coming off the best season of his career. He averaged 22.4 points and seven assists per game this season but only played in 60 games after being sidelined with a wrist injury.

Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri also denied the source of the initial report.

Why Lowry will stay in Toronto

Follow the money, first and foremost. The Raptors are the only team that can offer him a full five-year max contract upwards of $200 million.

That money is difficult for anyone to pass up, even if the team hasn’t experienced recent playoff success. The Raptors can pay Lowry more money than anyone else can, already have a solid team in place with another All-Star in DeMar DeRozan, and have built a roster that suits him perfectly.

There are other attractive places to play for Lowry, and he will consider them. Teams like the Spurs, 76ers, and Nuggets are all potential options for him with high-level talent on their roster. But the familiarity he has with the Raptors and the role he plays there won’t change. With other teams, it likely will.

If Lowry’s focus is mainly winning a title, moving may be the best option for him. If it’s the money? There’s no better place than Toronto.

Why Lowry won’t stay in Toronto

If the Raptors won’t give him a full maximum contract complete with long-term security.

It still makes sense for him to send a tweet dispelling the notion that he won’t consider the Raptors because they’re his biggest leverage play. Again, the Raptors can give him the best deal he’ll find this offseason. Without them, his market may sour a bit.

Behind his injuries, his poor production in the playoffs, and his age at 31 years old, teams can find a number of reasons not to offer Lowry as much money as they possibly can. He’ll still a productive player, but the back end of the deal he’ll sign this offseason will likely be an overpay.

Lowry is still trying to get the best deal he possibly can, and he needs the leverage from the Raptors to do that.

Chances Lowry re-signs with the Raptors: 4/10

The breaking point for Lowry is going to be the fifth year in his deal. Teams are hesitant to give players a full five-year max deal after they turn 30. If the Raptors were to offer that to Lowry, they’d still be paying him max money when he’s 36 years old.

His playing style has worn him down over the last few seasons and he hasn’t shown the ability to make it into the postseason as healthy as possible without missing significant time.

For the Raptors, investing max money into a player like that is dangerous. We think it’s best for both parties to just go their separate ways on this one.