The Toronto Raptors are currently undergoing a season of change. In the aftermath of Kawhi Leonard's departure, they have been looking for answers on how to improve their roster and win another title.
In the two years since, they have come up short, leading many to believe they're headed for a complete rebuild.
Perhaps nothing signals that reality more than the recent activity of Kyle Lowry, who recently got sent to Miami as part of an offseason sign-and-trade deal.
With Lowry gone, it really does feel like the end of an era for Canadian basketball.
And, in an effort to remember the past, the organization has already committed to retiring Lowry's jersey number when he retires.
Lowry said in March that even if he was traded at the deadline, he planned to return to Toronto to sign a one-day contract and retire a Raptor. Though Tanenbaum side-stepped a question regarding plans for a Lowry statue after Toronto Mayor John Tory said this week he is “confident” it will happen, Tanenbaum and the Raptors organization will ensure Lowry receives their highest honors.
“He will retire as a Raptor and his number will absolutely go up there,” Tanenbaum said, confirming Lowry will have his No. 7 retired. “The honor will be the first one (for the Raptors) and I love Kyle.
“I love his leadership. I love his intelligence. I love his passion.”
The Toronto Raptors are just one of three teams in the entire NBA to not have a single number retired. Despite having multiple star players having passed through over the years (Tracy Mcgrady, Vince Carter, Chris Bosh, DeMar DeRozan, etc.), Lowry will be the first to receive that honor -- and he's earned it.
Through 9 seasons with the team, he made 6 All-Star teams while averaging roughly 17 points per game on 37% shooting from downtown.
Most importantly, however, he was there to help the franchise capture their first and only NBA Championship in 2019.
Having been through so much with the organization, it's no surprise there are a lot of emotions about his departure.