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Kyle Lowry says it’s business as usual despite off-season upheaval

Kyle Lowry says it’s business as usual despite off-season upheaval
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Kyle Lowry used to love to goof around with DeMar DeRozan as part of the Great Toronto Sporting Bromance, but there was always a bit of an edge to the point guard only slightly hidden from view.

Lowry’s got a little bit of contrarian to his personality: He can be a bit prickly now and then but he is a competitor above all else, a hardened NBA veteran fully aware of how the league works after having been cast aside by two franchises in his career.

DeRozan seemed to soften him just a little, at least in the public perception and now, left on his own, Lowry will return to his roots as the leader of the Toronto Raptors.

He was hurt by the trade which sent DeRozan packing last July in return for Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green. But in his first public utterances about it Monday, the 32-year-old said he’ll simply do what he does.

“You know how it is, I come to work, no matter what,” Lowry said at the team’s annual media day at the Scotiabank Arena. “This is a business. I understand the business. I’ve been traded before, I’ve had a point guard drafted (supposedly to take his job) on draft night. It’s a business. I’ve always understood that.

“We come in here, come to work, and understand that’s what it is. Me, I have to come in and be in the best shape I can be, the best player I can be, the best individual talent I can be to help my teammates and to help our team win a championship.”

The harsh reality of pro sports is that the only thing a player owes a team, or a team owes a player, is hard work, the opportunity and willingness to improve as time progresses. If unfortunate things like trades of best buddies has to happen, well, they have to happen and jobs still need to be done.

That Lowry didn’t speak on the DeRozan trade until Monday isn’t surprising — he never does a lot of summer time media in any circumstances, and as long as he performs when practices and games arrive, what else matters?

“He’s ready to go to work, that’s what I do know,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said. “Listen, I’m amazed sometimes sitting there on that bench on how hard he plays and how badly he wants to win. None of that has changed. When we all get to work, we’re going to see it. We’re looking forward to it.”

The Lowry-Leonard dynamic will be much different than the Lowry-DeRozan one was, simply because the personalities involved are so diametrically different. But it will be perhaps more important, as the Raptors and Lowry try to integrate a player generally considered among the top half dozen in the entire league. Lowry and Leonard haven’t spent any time on the court together nor have they chatted very much but given their collective experiences, they’ll find a way to work it out.

“We’ve just got to keep asking each other questions, and once we play together, that’s when you learn the most from each other,” Leonard said.

As for the deep, probing interest that exists about deciphering the relationship between Lowry and his employers? It’s professional and what else does it need to be?

“I know how he is,” Raptors president Masai Ujiri said. “I completely understand with us with the trade with DeMar and that effect. That’s his best friend here for five years and it was legit with both of them. There was nothing fake about it, so you understand that.”

And Lowry understood. And understands.

“My relationship with the organization is the same,” he said.

“I come into camp and come in to work, it’s been the same since Day One. I come to work. I’m really happy to be back on this floor and back in Toronto, I’m ready to play. He made a decision, he’s the president, at the end of the day he’s the president of our organization and he makes decisions to help us win a championship, right? That’s a decision he made. For me, my job is to be ready to go, and I’m ready to go.”
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