Type “Kyle Lowry Spurs” into the Google machine and you’ll find the same headline from every website – Lowry’s interest in signing with the Spurs was “real”.
The headline is supposed to illicit a click, but I don’t see what’s provocative about it. Why wouldn’t Lowry, a free agent this past offseason, have interest in playing for the NBA’s model franchise for the last 20 years?
Apparently the meat is in the actual quote, which he gave to a Spurs media outlet. “It was real for me, but it wasn’t real for them…. I would have loved to come here, but it didn’t work out. The conversation didn’t happen. If the conversation happened, I would tell you. But it didn’t happen.”
Fans will knock any player for prioritizing money, or the spotlight, ahead of winning (see: Carmelo Anthony). But when a player says he was interested in playing for a perennial title contender, we call him a traitor, or a malcontent.
What if those outraged looked at this way – many players take any perceived slight against them and use it as fuel to spite those that spurned them. Michael Jordan made a career out of turning criticism – real or imagined – into an impetus for vengeance. Ask anyone drafted later than number 1 overall in their draft – they can name every player that was drafted before them. Their goal – to prove every GM that passed on them that they made a grave mistake.
Lowry’s got $100 million guaranteed, and plays in the same conference as LeBron James – fair reasons for Raptors fans to be fearful of complacency. But perhaps Lowry will take the Spurs passing on him as motivation. It’s classic bulletin board material – “no one believes in us.” Lowry could double down on that sentiment – no one believes in the Raptors, and the Spurs don’t believe they can win with him.
So rather than freak out over an empty quote, be happy the franchise point guard stayed, and be hopeful that he plays with a chip on his shoulder.