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Kyle Lowry Signs One-Year, $31 Million Extension with the Toronto Raptors

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Kawhi Leonard may have left the Toronto Raptors in free agency, but their other All-Star isn’t going anywhere, as Kyle Lowry hopes to finish his career in Toronto.

Lowry, 33, has spent the last seven years of his career with the Raptors and has been named an All-Star in each of the last five seasons.

After helping deliver their first championship last season, Lowry has come to terms with the Raptors on a contract extension that will keep him in Toronto for the next two years.

Lowry was in the last year of a contract that will pay him just over $31 million for the 2019-20 season. So with this extension, he will now replicate that salary for another season.

By signing this contract extension, Lowry secures more financial security, but he also removes himself from what would have been a weak 2020 free agent class.

Doing so might not have been the best move for Lowry to maximize his market, as he would have been one of the top names available in free agency. On the other hand, it goes long way towards achieving his goal of retiring as a Raptor.

While there is a chance that Lowry is still traded over the next couple of years, the more likely scenario is that he stays put as the Raptors try to reconfigure their team into a championship contender once more.

By paying Lowry a hefty salary for the next two years, the Raptors are putting themselves in a position to be a competitive team that is really enticing for the free agents of the loaded 2021 class.

Once this contract is up, the Raptors can try to land another big fish in free agency and at that point in his career, Lowry could return on a much more team-friendly deal.

As of now, we still do not know if the Raptors will keep the band together for the entire season, or if they will eventually tear it down and try to get some value for their expiring contracts on the trade market.

While Toronto is nearing a crossroads, one thing appears clear. Lowry has been the face of this franchise and the Raptors hope to keep it that way.

Basketball

Miami Heat Remain Undefeated at Home Behind Jimmy Butler’s Triple-Double Over the Wizards

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Last season, the Miami Heat missed the playoffs by just two games, finishing with a 39-43 record.

The biggest reason for their absence in the postseason was a bad record at home, as the Heat were under .500 with a 19-22 record. Miami hoped to change that this season and set out to win more games in their building.

So far so good for the Heat, as Friday night’s victory over the Washington Wizards improved their home record to a perfect 9-0 this season.

Not only have the Heat improved on their home record from a year ago, but they are off to the best start at home in franchise history. A big reason for all that success is No. 22, as Jimmy Butler has been a breath of fresh air in Miami.

Butler gives the Heat their first real superstar since the Big Three era and he has quickly turned them into a legitimate contender in the Eastern Conference.

Friday night’s performance for Butler included a game-high 28 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists for his second triple-double of the season.

Butler had his first triple double in a Heat uniform on Tuesday, when he led his team to an overtime victory over the Toronto Raptors. Butler outscored the Raptors 8-2 in that overtime period, giving Toronto their first home loss of the season.

While Butler has been great whenever he is on the floor, the biggest asset he brings to Miami is his ability to close games.

The Miami Heat moved to 16-6 with their win over the Wizards and are currently slated for the third seed in the Eastern Conference.

Whether they can continue to win at that clip is yet to be determined but two things have become clear. The Heat have found an identity behind Butler’s play and no one should want to travel to Miami right now.

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Basketball

Bucks Dismantle the Clippers in Potential Finals Preview to Extend Winning Streak

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While the Los Angeles Lakers will certainly have something to say about it, there has been a lot of buzz surrounding a potential matchup between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Los Angeles Clippers in the NBA Finals.

Milwaukee has been pacing the Eastern Conference all season behind the reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, after finishing last year with an NBA-best 60-22 record.

Meanwhile the Clippers have a very deep roster full of stout defenders and a duo of two-way superstars in Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.

With all that being said, there was a lot of anticipation going into Friday night’s game between these two powerhouses, but the result did not quite live up to the hype.

The final score ended up being 119-91, as the Bucks just steamrolled the Clippers with ease on their home floor.

Giannis led the Bucks with a game-high 27 points and 11 rebounds, needing to play just 26 minutes of work before sitting down with the win in hand.

This game was special for Giannis for a whole different reason, as it was his 25th birthday. There is probably no better president than a blowout victory against a difficult opponent.

Especially when you are extending your team’s winning streak to an NBA-best 14 games.

This is actually not the first time that these two teams have squared off this year, as they met very early in the season.

In that game both teams entered with a 5-2 record, but the Bucks went home with the victory, beating the Clippers in a close game in the Staples Center.

With Friday’s win, that concludes the season series between these two teams. If the Bucks and Clippers are to meet again, it would have to be in the NBA Finals.

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Trail Blazers’ Rodney Hood Out for the Season with Torn Achilles Tendon

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Rodney Hood has been a very solid player for the Portland Trail Blazers this year, starting 21 games at the small forward position.

Hood has provided Portland with exactly what you want for a team with a high volume scoring backcourt, as a great three-and-D wing. Hood was shooting a career-best 49% from three-point range.

Unfortunately Hood’s season just came to a screeching halt, as 27-year-old exited Friday night’s game with what turned out to be a torn Achilles tendon.

Hood went to the locker room following the injury and it was later diagnosed as the worst case scenario for any NBA player.

Hood will now miss the remainder of this season and could miss a significant portion of next season as well, as he recovers from this injury.

Luckily, he does have a player option worth just over $6 million for next season, so Hood will still have a home while he rehabs from this devastating injury.

Hopefully Hood can make a full recovery and enjoy a long career in the NBA.

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