Kyle Lowry still considering playing for Team USA in 2021 Olympics
The veteran guard says playing for the United States in the 2021 games is 'always high on the list.'
The Associated Press
The next big decision that Toronto guard Kyle Lowry makes won’t be the one that decides his NBA future.
His Olympic future will be settled first.
Lowry — who will be one of the top free agents on the market this summer — said Tuesday that he is considering playing for USA Basketball in the Tokyo Olympics. He was part of the U.S. team that won gold at the Rio de Janeiro Games five years ago.
“Of course, I want to represent my country and get another gold medal,” Lowry said. “My team, my internal team, we’ll talk about that and see what’s the best decision. To be able to go out there and represent your country and possibly win a gold medal, it’s always high on the list.”
The 35-year-old Lowry averaged 17.2 points in 46 games for the Raptors this past season, his ninth with the team. He officially becomes a free agent in August; the window where teams can talk to players about contracts actually begins during the Tokyo Games.
Lowry averaged 5.0 points per game for the Americans in Rio. The U.S. outscored Serbia by 21 points when Lowry was on the floor during the gold-medal game, the third consecutive Olympic title for the Americans.
“That was one of the greatest feelings ever,” Lowry said. “You create a bond with a group of men that are at your stature and that bond can never be broken because you win that gold medal. Team USA is one of the best things that we do. That’s one of the things that our league, we take pride in — being able to send our players over there to try to win a gold medal and to represent our country.”
The Americans — who have 57 players in their prospective pool for the Tokyo Games, Lowry among them — plan to select a team in late June, then will gather in early July to begin training camp and a series of exhibition games. The U.S. opens Olympic play against France on July 25, two days after the opening ceremony in Tokyo and three days after the last possible date for Game 7 of the NBA Finals.
Another reason Lowry wants to play in Tokyo: The chance to spend a few weeks with U.S. coach Gregg Popovich. Lowry was with Popovich and the U.S. team during training camp for the Basketball World Cup in 2019, not long after the Raptors won that year’s NBA title, but Lowry wasn’t able to play because of a thumb injury.
“I mean, who wouldn’t want to play for one of the greatest coaches in basketball history, right?” Lowry said. “I have a little bit of a good relationship with him by being playing against him for a long time and spending a couple of weeks with those guys a couple of summers ago. He’s a great man, a great coach in general. So, to be able to have an opportunity to sit around him and learn from him and be coached by him, it would be a very good thing.”
The Raptors will try to keep Lowry this summer, though it remains anyone’s guess if he will remain in Toronto. Lowry said a multitude of factors — contract length, money, his family’s happiness — will go into his decision on whether to stay in Toronto or play elsewhere.
“I want more championships,” Lowry said. “That’s always been the goal. Money comes with that, but championships are a big key in why I play this game.”