When we take a first glance at this Raptors roster for the upcoming season it seems fairly obvious who the starting five will be with this squad. Jonas Valanciunas will be the starting center, Amir Johnson likely is your starting power forward, and Rudy Gay in at small forward, DeMar DeRozan is your shooting guard and Kyle Lowry at the point. I would think it is safe to say that all five of these guys can be fairly confident entering training camp that they will have there names called for the Raptors first game of the NBA season.
Kyle Lowry seems to be the one with a lot of people behind him that could steal his minutes away. It was a disappointing season for Lowry who was not able to establish himself as the clear starter over Jose Calderon last season. This was what the plan was when the Raptors spent a first round pick to acquire him from Houston.
The Raptors made little if any effort to re-sign Lowry to a contract extension as he enters that last year of it this season. The Raptors did however bring in D.J Augustin and Dwight Buycks and after failing a medical initially have extended a camp invite to Julyan Stone. Combining these factors you could logically assume the Raptors have sent a message to Kyle Lowry.
While there is no question that Lowry should be the started on opening night as long as he is healthy and active on the roster. It will be very interesting to see how these other 3 players perform behind him. The Raptors if they were to gain confidence in two of the three are left with some options when it comes to Lowry.
Obviously it is Lowry’s best personal interest to have a great season in a contract year. If he is able to that the question will be come to the Raptors risk keeping him and hoping to re-sign him in the off-season. Point guards considered to be starters do not come cheap on the free-agent market. So would the Raptors consider moving Lowry at the deadline?
One factor will be the confidence they have in the guys playing behind him. Another might be Rudy Gay as the two are close friends and Gay has an option at the end of the season which he too could become a free agent. Given the amount his contract is for that would be highly unlikely, Taking that into account what happens with Lowry may in fact be a positive or negative in Rudy Gay and his desire to remain in Toronto.
Gay himself is coming off a rather down season in his career in terms of numbers. Depending on what the Raptors record ends up looking like it is not out of the question that you could see him move as well as a Lowry.
At the end of the day, Lowry is the without question best player the Raptors have at the position but if he is not the long term answer it would seem wise to try and get something for him. What will make the choice easier or harder will be the performance of the three men that enter camp behind him on the depth chart. They also will be no doubt battling with each other as well as it seems highly unlikely the Raptors would enter the season with four point guards on the roster.
As camp is set to begin as it has been for many seasons in the past the point guard position should have a lot of focus and attention.