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Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Report: Warriors were unwilling to trade Festus Ezeli, pick for Kyle Lowry in 2013

Kyle Lowry

Here’s another testament to just how far Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry has come over the last few years.

According to a report by Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer on Monday, Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri fielded trade calls for Lowry in 2013 but was unable to find a team that would give up a young player and a first-rounder for him. The Golden State Warriors, in particular, were unwilling to surrender Festus Ezeli and a pick for Lowry.

In fairness, Lowry was, at the time, an underwhelming 27-year-old who had never averaged more than 14 points or seven assists a game in a single season. Ezeli was also just 23 then, and it would have been difficult to justify the Warriors, who had yet to develop into the basketball powerhouse that won the NBA title in 2014-2015, won 73 games in 2015-16, and signed Kevin Durant ahead of 2016-17, trading two valuable long-term assets in Ezeli and a pick.

Since then however, Lowry blossomed into a consensus top-seven point guard in the league, making three All-Star Teams and one All-NBA Team while becoming a 40-plus percent three-point shooter and upping his scoring average to nearly 23 points per game (with his recent absence showing just how much he has come to mean to the Raptors). While the Warriors, given their own recent successes, probably don’t regret passing on Lowry one bit, it still makes for a fun “what if?” in modern NBA history.

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