Basketball is so much bigger than just a sport to NBA players.
Lifelong friendships are formed among teammates, coaches and even the front office at times. Those friendships can ultimately determine a team’s overall chemistry and how well they work with one another.
For Raptors' Kyle Lowry, seeing his best friend and former Toronto Raptors teammate, DeMar DeRozan, get traded to the San Antonio Spurs proves just how much the bond between friends can be.
Lowry joined the Raptors during the 2012-2013 season and started the beginning of a beautiful friendship between he and DeRozan. The duo spent six years together before Raptors GM Masai Ujiri pulled the plug on DeRozan after getting swept by LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers during the 2018 playoffs and traded for Kawhi Leonard.
Of course, NBA fans are well-versed between the fallout of Kawhi Leonard and the San Antonio Spurs after playing only nine games before calling it quits on Coach Gregg Popovich and opting to sit out the rest of the year due to a mysterious quad injury.
But what Ujiri may not have considered is what the impact this trade would have in the locker room among the players.
For the most part, there haven’t been any Raptors on record stating their displeasure with the deal, but Lowry voiced his emotions loud and clear for ESPN’s Rachel Nichols in an interview during Toronto’s all-access media day.
“I felt betrayed because he felt betrayed, because that’s my guy,” Lowry said of the blockbuster deal, per ESPN. “That’s my best friend.”
Lowry continued to comment on his relationship between he and Ujiri, stating that “He’s the President of Basketball Operations and that’s it. To me, I come in here and do my job he does his job, I do my job right? That’s what you do.”
Clearly the floor is open for interpretation on these comments but based on this interview it seems as though Lowry is still indifferent towards Ujiri’s decision to swap star players with the Spurs.
This season, it appears Ujiri made the right call as the Raptors are sitting atop the Eastern Conference while the Spurs are struggling below .500.
They say winning is the remedy for everything in the NBA, but that may not necessarily be the case here in Toronto between Lowry and Ujiri.