NBA: Lowry thrilled for Leonard, but wants to stay in Toronto

Field Level Media/Reuters

Posted at Aug 07 2019 11:04 AM

NBA: Lowry thrilled for Leonard, but wants to stay in Toronto 1
Kyle Lowry #7 and Kawhi Leonard #2 of the Toronto Raptors hold the Championship Trophy on the team bus during the Toronto Raptors Championship Victory Parade on June 17, 2019 in Toronto, Ontario. Ron Turenne, NBAE via Getty Images/AFP

All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry understands why Kawhi Leonard would leave for the Los Angeles Clippers, but the longtime leader of the Toronto Raptors has no desire to bolt Canada.

"I want to be there -- I would love to do a long extension, but we'll see what happens," Lowry said. "I'm here for USA Basketball and (to) support the guys and be around the group. I would love to be there long term, but we'll have that discussion when the time is right."

Lowry, 33, is in camp with Team USA but dealing with a left thumb injury. The right-handed shooter is still going through some workouts and could be available when competition begins, coach Gregg Popovich said.

The FIBA World Cup is played in China next month.

"It depends on the doctor," Popovich said of Lowry's availability. "He's still in a hard cast. Sometime here soon he goes to the doctor and that will have a lot to do with the decision."

The timing of an extension for Lowry will be tricky for Toronto, which will prioritize a deal for NBA Most Improved Player Pascal Siakam. Siakam averaged 16.9 points and 6.9 rebounds for the Raptors and is being asked to pick up even more slack with Leonard leaving town.

"What else do you want to hear from me? He going to get paid. ... For a guy like that, you just got to keep improving and keep it going," Lowry said.

Leonard spent only one season in Toronto and wasn't with the Raptors for even a full year. Still, Lowry credits Leonard for helping bring a title to the franchise.

"I am happy for the guys that -- especially a guy that helped do something fantastic and something great," Lowry said.

"He's an unbelievable friend of mine and is a good guy. He made a decision to go home and he is happy with that and I am happy for him. Truly. I am genuinely happy for him. It gives him a chance to be around his family and friends. You got to respect the guy and be happy for him."

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