Raptors announced they are bringing back the purple and the team that currently wear purple in the NBA roll into town. Rudy Gay basically admitted to the fact he sucked with the Raptors. Well he said he wasn’t efficient so that is as close as you’ll get. It is a well rested Raptors team that played their only game in March last Sunday with a surprising win over Golden State.
The Raptors have had very few bad losses since the Gay trade but one of them was against these Kings in Sacramento. It wasn’t exactly because of Gay it was more because of DeMarcus Cousins who has been historically great against the Raptors.
This will be the first time Gay has been back to Toronto and I would suspect he gets the traditional welcome for guys that had bad endings with the Raptors. Not expecting a Vince Carter like response more like a mild Chris Bosh response.
Will see if Terrence Ross is back for this one if he isn’t the Raptors might have a bit harder of a time dealing with Gay. They also miss Ross’ scorning at times especially from beyond the three point line. The Raptors will have a lot of these games where they will be the clear favourite down the stretch and they need to take advantage and get their playoff business taking care of sooner rather than later. If the Raptors can rest some of their key pieces over the final few games that would be helpful.
The obvious being an Amir Johnson getting some rest but also a DeRozan and Lowry would likely benefit from a little break to take a breath before the playoffs.
While the Raptors have been on a break they have moved percentage points ahead of the Bulls despite having one fewer win and into third once again in the East. Meanwhile during this break in on court action there has been a lot of talk that Masai Ujiri has been having conversations with Kyle Lowry’s agent to look toward what it is going to take to keep him a Raptor in the off-season.
All this going back to the playoffs is great and bring back the old purple uniforms with the red dinosaur too, but without Kyle Lowry next season all this hope could be gone as fast as it came. If the Raptors want to be a good team during their 20 season celebration they are going to need Kyle Lowry to be here for that.
You kind of have an idea of what the Raptors future is as far as this season goes. They are at best going to make it to the second round and lose to either the Heat or Pacers probably in short order. How this Lowry situation plays itself out remains more of a mystery. The fact Masai is having talks and conversations can only be viewed as positive even if they might not lead to anything in the here and now. At worst Kyle Lowry should be fully aware of the Raptors strong desire to keep him. That he has a very key role on this team as part of this group that will not easily be replaced.
If it comes down to dollars the Raptors have the money to keep him that is not in question. How much Lowry thinks he is worth and what both the market and the Raptors think he is.
While most Raptors fans focus is on seeing late April basketball for the first time in a long time. My focus is on July and what becomes the future of this group that has a number of moving parts to it. Not just Lowry but decisions on potential restricted free agents like Patrick Patterson and Greivis Vasquez also need to be made. It will be a busy off-season for Masai Ujiri trying to figure out the next step for this group filled with a lot of potential moving forward.