Why Kyle Lowry’s carefully planned departure was necessary for the next adoption of the Raptors

Toronto – The Toronto Raptors wouldn’t be where they are now without Kyle Lowry.

But they won’t be able to get where they want to be if the team’s all-time leader is still behind No. 7 for help, theft, accusations and victory, throwing his body on the wood and into the crowd. Every loose ball was a live grenade that had to be pushed.

The two seemingly inconsistent paths that successfully navigated the glorious, lorry-led past of the Raptors and its increasingly promising future are the main reason why Sunday evening will be such a special moment not only in the history of the franchise, but in the history of sports. Represents the city.

Lori’s departure – and therefore her return – was carefully planned and executed properly, at least as much as the chaotic rolling NBA marketplace.

But from the beginning to the end, it was vital for everyone involved to get it right.

“It was a very, very high priority,” Raptors President and Vice-Chairman Masai Wajiri told me in a conversation this week. “Kyle is a legend. To me he’s the best rapper of all time, no doubt about it. So with the fans, with the ownership, with the organization, we have to go in the right direction.

“Because of respect for them and respect for someone like Kyle.”

Lori earned that honor because she taught a franchise how to win and what a basketball winner looks like.

It’s not a good feeling, it’s prisoner-moment nostalgia. It’s just a fact.

Remember when Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment CEO Tim Layweek visited George Strombolopoulos tonight and wished that more people at the (then) Moriband Toronto Maple Leafs were on a (then) less-than-acclaimed point in a basketball team. Was not. What does it matter outside of their die-hard fanbase?

Hockey more fully expresses the ideals of competitiveness, perseverance and teamwork than any other sport, and basketball was not on the radar in that case.

Lori Leiwe has proved right.

His tireless motor was the locomotive that drove the dawn of the “We the North” era. It started a race of success that eventually led to the 2019 NBA Championship, a title that will stand for many reasons throughout the ages, at least it forced the basketball universe to recognize the Raptors in a way that has never been possible before, and Toronto for Canadians. And the whole country can recognize what the game represents, in some cases for the first time.

Lori, of course, did not act alone, but she was the key to allowing basketball and the NBA and those who are part of the game and the culture around the game to fully see.

For all these reasons, his departure had to be handled with the utmost care as it became clear that the company had to move on to its next stage and Laurie, now 36 years old and in his 16th season, wanted to write another chapter before him. Years have passed

Time paid off the nail. Lori is competing for the NBA title with the Heat, and the young raptors are already charging for fifth place and could win 48 games – their first playoff under Lori and their total on the franchise record at the time.

Lori opens the door and leaves. Would the Raptors have been able to play a 35-minute game of Rookie Scotty Burns if Lori had been here – including some point guards? The same goes for Pascal Siakam, who often becomes the team’s primary ball-handler, lets his game grow and at the same time lets the six-year-old veteran find a voice he wasn’t sure about.

“Opportunities always increase,” says Raptors head coach Nick Nurse. “It simply came to our notice then. There are more minutes, there is more time, there are more leadership opportunities and I think that was the biggest thing. We knew we would lose a great leader… but for some people who have been here a long time, we needed to make them understand that they are the leaders of the team, and that it depends on them how they work and how they work. “

Siakam’s first, best minutes in the NBA came as a raw rockie playing a wide receiver running under Lori’s pin-point pass in transition. But since he has recently evolved into one of the NBA’s most dynamic scoring and passing threats, and especially this year, Lori’s departure has opened up different parts of his game.

“Kyle was a big part of what we do as a team and as an organization, like, obviously, for good reason when you look at what he’s done here,” Siakam recently told me. “With someone as big and great as Kyle, you had to take a step back because he’s so influential, so his departure was a chance to hear another voice and I thought, yeah, I could be that person.”

Yet, just as important – and perhaps even more important – since the company that received a reasonable return on any transaction involving Lorry was making sure that nothing would happen on the way out that would in any way tarnish everything that had come before for both parties.

The whole process was made easier by the way the viziers and franchise Point Guards dealt with events over the past few years, Lori Raptors pointed out in her open letter to fans. The Players Tribune When he referenced the phone call on Friday, he shared with his old boss when Toronto helped organize the sign-and-trade deal that landed Lori with the Miami hit – always his favorite destination – and Precious Achia and (finally) Thad Young. Brought to Toronto.

“Our relationship, at the moment, is more than just players and management. It’s bigger than just the ‘work thing’, where you’re leaving one job for another, so you make a call to thank the old boss, “wrote Lori. “No. It’s deeper than me and Mister. What have we been through when you? When you share history do we share? That’s not just the GM on the other end of the phone. That’s the big brother. That’s the family. “

This is why his return to the Scotiabank Arena for the first time since joining Miami Heat as a free agent will be different from any previous reunion.

For so many years the Raptors have dabbled in being an NBA organization that no one respected or – even when it has slowly gained its position – no one is widely recognized for how it has grown and the potential to do more.

If you knew, you know, but not everyone does. And it’s not a coincidence that often – for example, every time – the difficult separation between the raptor star and the team and the city has left a bitter aftertaste.

Any longtime fan knows the roll call: Damon, Tracy, Vince, Bosch, Dimer (although in DeRozan he was the one who was obviously hurt and angry after the franchise-shaking trade) and even Kaohi Helped. But choosing a clipper in his free agency and leaving one or more titles on the table makes things a bit cloudy.

This time it will not happen. Lori and Uziri became close in their eight split seasons in Toronto after some rocky years and excitement after Uziri decided to trade his best friend Derozan.

After winning the title at the Oracle Arena, the Raptors president was dragged to the floor by Lorii Viziri, famous for celebrating the victory, moments after he was assaulted by a police officer working on security. They became closer during the epidemic as they worked on the committee charged with getting back into the NBA game and getting back into the bubble when discussing how to use momentum for social justice issues after the assassination of George Floyd.

Relationships have deepened in Tampa where they will cross paths to facilitate the Raptors’ temporary practice during the morning workout, communicate about the team’s temporary transfer logistics and – ultimately – how to handle the departure of a legend.

With the trade deadline progressing last season – with Lopri playing like a rapper pivoting into the ‘Tampa Tank’, everything was done transparently, no wonder. This is not to say that Lori’s will was put before the best interests of the franchise, but to ensure that Lori’s care was considered in the franchise’s best interests.

The moment was right, for everyone concerned.

“It’s almost like handing over power to them. And Kyle did it in a beautiful way, “said the vizier.

“We cannot ask for anything better as an organization. The thing I like best about them is that they will tell you the things they learned from Kyle, they will tell you they learned from Dimmer, they will tell you they learned from Kaohi and (Mark) Gasol. That thing, I’m telling you, that’s something that’s going to turn out and that’s something that is winning and incredible people. That’s what it’s going to turn out to be, and they’re all going to be leaders. I know it. “

The Raptors wouldn’t be where they are without Kyle Lori, but his legacy is that they won’t be where they are now – young and competitive and full of potential – without him.

Threading that end of the needle lorry, can go down as the most important pass as a Raptor. As usual, it was on time and on purpose.

Sunday’s prostration will be proof of that.

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