Two of the Toronto Raptors’ key free agents have each agreed to return to the team.
Earlier today, Serge Ibaka agreed to return to the Raptors on a 3-year deal, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported.
Source: Free agent forward Serge Ibaka has reached deal on three-year, $65M contract to stay with the Toronto… https://t.co/ATpQCWXQ36
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 2, 2017
Ibaka was acquired by the Raptors during this past season’s trade deadline. He is a solid rim protector and shot blocker, and brought a high level of energy and defense to a team that really needed it. He has also developed into one of the better stretch 4s in the league over the past several seasons, knocking down 39.8 percent of his three-point attempts since his trade to Toronto. At age 27, he is still in the prime of his career and will remain in his prime through the duration of the contract, which will allow him to continue giving the Raptors great minutes as the team’s starting power forward.
Later on in the day, Shams Charania of The Vertical reported that Lowry has also agreed to re-sign with the Raptors on a 3-year deal. Lowry wrote an excellent piece for The Players’ Tribune, entitled “Home,” to explain his free agency decision to return to the Raptors.
— The Players' Tribune (@PlayersTribune) July 2, 2017
Lowry has developed into a top 10 player at his position and has become a perennial All-Star since joining the Raptors via trade back in 2012. Lowry averaged a career-high 22.4 points and 4.8 rebounds per game last season, to go along with 7 assists. He also shot a career-high 41.2 percent from the three-point line last season. Lowry has been the main catalyst, along with DeMar DeRozan, for the Raptors’ two most successful seasons in franchise history the past two years. However, after getting hurt in Game 2 of the team’s second round playoff series, the team struggled to win a game before getting swept. Lowry has proven to be so important to the team’s success.
After seeing the Eastern Conference get weakened even further this offseason, with the trades of Jimmy Butler and Paul George to the Timberwolves and Thunder, respectively, the Raptors have made the moves necessary to allow them to continue being one of the few elite teams in the East. Lowry and Ibaka haven’t played very many games together yet, but a full season will likely allow them to turn into a devastating duo, particular in pick-and-pop situations. Getting both Lowry and Ibaka to return and still having DeRozan signed long-term will allow the Raptors to likely remain a top-three team in the East for next season and beyond.
Featured Photo Credit: Sports Illustrated