The Raptors’ sluggish performance in Monday’s Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals was nothing new, but at least it was better than the effort the Spurs displayed in a home rout to the Rockets.
Toronto dropped to 1-12 in playoff openers after falling 116-105 in Cleveland as they failed to stop LeBron James (35 points) and Kyrie Irving (24). The Raptors pulled within seven points in the third quarter before James knocked down a 3-pointer, converted a three-point play, then hit another jumper and considered washing it down with a beer.
As Lowry said, winning a ring is an important factor in his decision, but at the end of the day, you can’t ignore the money. That’s where the Raptors have an edge, as they can offer him a larger contract — five years, $205 million compared to four years, $152 million.
Although when asked if money will be in his decision-making process, Lowry said it’s not on his mind at the moment.
“I haven’t thought about any of that,” he said Monday. “Honestly, what I’ve thought about is, yes, I’ll opt out, and how I need to get better as a basketball player. That’s all I’ve thought about. And that I want a ring. That’s all that drives me.”
A ring could be possible with the Spurs, but it’s looking more unlikely with the Raptors. Expect Lowry to consider a shift to the other conference, but just because he’s thinking about it doesn’t mean he’ll jump. There are still plenty of good reasons to remain in Toronto.