Lowry stay­ing put

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - SPORTS -

Kyle Lowry said he wants to fin­ish what he started in Toronto so he’s stay­ing put. Lowry an­nounced on The Play­ers’ Tri­bune site Sun­day that he will re-sign with the Rap­tors. The deal is a three-year con­tract worth $100 mil­lion, ac­cord­ing to a per­son with knowl­edge of the ne­go­ti­a­tions who spoke to The As­so­ci­ated Press on con­di­tion of anonymity. The three-time All-Star av­er­aged 22.4 points and 7.0 as­sists last sea­son for the Rap­tors, who also struck a deal to re­tain for­ward Serge Ibaka ear­lier Sun­day. So Toronto’s star-pow­ered back­court is now set for at least the next three years, af­ter shoot­ing guard DeMar DeRozan got a five-year deal worth $139 mil­lion last sum­mer. Lowry and DeRozan led Toronto to the Eastern Con­fer­ence fi­nals in 2016.

TORONTO — Kyle Lowry said he wants to fin­ish what he started in Toronto, and he made that clear Sun­day.

Lowry an­nounced on The Play­ers’ Tri­bune site that he will re-sign with the Rap­tors, adding that it was an easy de­ci­sion. Lowry will sign a three-year deal worth $100 mil­lion, ac­cord­ing to a per­son with knowl­edge of the ne­go­ti­a­tions who spoke to The As­so­ci­ated Press on con­di­tion of anonymity be­cause terms were not re­vealed pub­licly.

“It was up to me to de­cide whether this thing we have — is it worth stick­ing around for, and run­ning it back again, and see­ing if we can take that next step?” Lowry wrote. “And like I said — to me, that was an easy de­ci­sion. The an­swer is yes.”

The three-time All-Star av­er­aged 22.4 points and 7.0 as­sists last sea­son for the Rap­tors, who also struck a deal to re­tain for­ward Serge Ibaka ear­lier Sun­day.

“If you’re look­ing for peo­ple to be­lieve in, choose the peo­ple who be­lieved in you first,” Lowry said. “And if you start some­thing, man, you fin­ish it.”

So Toronto’s star-pow­ered back­court is now set for at least the next three years, af­ter shoot­ing guard DeMar DeRozan got a fiveyear deal worth $139 mil­lion last sum­mer.

Lowry and DeRozan led Toronto to the Eastern Con­fer­ence fi­nals in 2016, and the Rap­tors were out in the sec­ond round this year in part be­cause Lowry got hurt dur­ing the post­sea­son.

“I don’t think we’ve reached our true po­ten­tial,” Lowry said.

Lowry was one of the most-cov­eted point guards on the mar­ket this sum­mer, per­haps only be­hind Golden State’s Stephen Curry. And he’s go­ing back to a team that has posted con­sec­u­tive 50-vic­tory sea­sons and reached the play­offs in each of the past four years.

“I’m com­ing back to Toronto be­cause my heart is telling me that it’s home,” said Lowry, not­ing that he still hasn’t had pou­tine — a wildly pop­u­lar dish in Canada.

When Toronto got Ibaka be­fore the trade dead­line last sea­son, the Rap­tors made it clear they had no in­ten­tions of let­ting him walk away this sum­mer in free agency.

Now that’s been proven af­ter Ibaka agreed to terms on a three-year con­tract worth $65 mil­lion. The deal can­not be signed un­til the NBA’s off­sea­son mora­to­rium ends on Thurs­day.

The 27-year-old Ibaka was traded to Toronto from Or­lando late last sea­son. He av­er­aged 14.2 points and 6.8 re­bounds in 23 games with the Rap­tors.

“His style of play fits our style of play,” Rap­tors Coach Dwane Casey said when the trade was made.

Toronto clearly hasn’t changed its think­ing.

Ibaka is one of only 13 play­ers in NBA his­tory to make 100 three-point­ers and record 100 blocks in the same sea­son. He did it last sea­son, along with Karl-Anthony Towns, Kristaps Porzingis and Brook Lopez.

He was ac­quired in ex­change for Ter­rence Ross and a first-round draft pick — a big price that would have looked even big­ger if the Rap­tors had lost Ibaka for noth­ing this sum­mer.

En­ter­ing his ninth NBA sea­son, Ibaka has ca­reer av­er­ages of 12 points and 7.3 re­bounds. Ibaka spent his first seven NBA sea­sons in Ok­la­homa City, help­ing the Thun­der reach the 2012 NBA Fi­nals against Mi­ami.

CAVA­LIERS Korver gets 3-year deal

CLEVE­LAND — Shoot­ing guard Kyle Korver will be back with Cleve­land af­ter the two sides agreed on a three-year, $22 mil­lion con­tract Sun­day. A league source con­firmed the terms of the deal, which in­cludes a par­tial guar­an­tee in the third year.

Korver, 36, ranked first in the league in three-point per­cent­age (.451) last sea­son. Ac­quired in a Jan­uary trade with At­lanta, he av­er­aged 10.1 points in 26.2 min­utes for the two teams. In the play­offs, he av­er­aged 5.8 points and shot .391 from be­yond the arc.

The Cava­liers made Korver an of­fer shortly af­ter the open­ing of the free agency pe­riod at 12:01 a.m. on Satur­day. Con­tracts can’t be of­fi­cially signed un­til Thurs­day.

Cleve­land re­tained Korver’s Bird rights in the trade, which cost the Cava­liers a pro­tected first-round pick, mean­ing they could ex­ceed the salary cap to sign him. But Bobby Marks of ESPN re­ported Sun­day that the Korver con­tract will in­crease the team’s lux­ury tax bill from $20.4 mil­lion to $42.7 mil­lion for next sea­son.

At this point, they will have 12 play­ers un­der con­tract Thurs­day af­ter they reached agree­ment on a oneyear deal with Jose Calderon on Satur­day to be­come the backup point guard.

TIM­BER­WOLVES

Gib­son on the move

MIN­NEAPO­LIS — A per­son with knowl­edge of the ne­go­ti­a­tions says Taj Gib­son is re­unit­ing with Min­nesota Coach Tom Thi­bodeau, agree­ing on a two-year, $28 mil­lion deal to join the Tim­ber­wolves.

Gib­son spent the bulk of his ca­reer in Chicago, in­clud­ing five sea­sons un­der Thi­bodeau. The Bulls traded him to Ok­la­homa City late last sea­son.

For his ca­reer, Gib­son has av­er­aged 9.4 points and 6.3 re­bounds.

In Min­nesota, he’ll be a new ad­di­tion along with an­other for­mer Bulls team­mate Jimmy But­ler, who was traded to the Tim­ber­wolves last month.

AP/FRANK GUNN

Toronto guard Kyle Lowry elected to stay with the Rap­tors af­ter agree­ing to a three-year con­tract worth $100 mil­lion, ac­cord­ing to a per­son with knowl­edge of the ne­go­ti­a­tions who spoke to The As­so­ci­ated Press on Sun­day.

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