'I'm back': Kyle Lowry officially re-signs with Raptors

The Toronto Raptors announced that they have re-signed six-foot-tall point guard Kyle Lowry to a...

The Toronto Raptors announced that they have re-signed six-foot-tall point guard Kyle Lowry to a multi-year deal worth an estimated $48 million over four years on Thursday, July 10, 2014. (JACK BOLAND/QMI Agency)

RYAN WOLSTAT, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:53 PM ET

Kyle Lowry officially committed long-term to the Raptors on Thursday, inking a four-year, $48 million U.S. extension with the franchise he intends to eventually help lead deep into the playoffs.

The Raptors invited fans to take in the media conference at Real Sports and many obliged, standing and clapping, impressing Lowry with their passion and, just for showing up at 10 a.m. on a weekday.

Considering Toronto's track record in retaining stars – Vince Carter and Chris Bosh left after signing initial extensions with the club, Tracy McGrady bolted instead of re-signing and Damon Stoudamire forced a trade – the spectacle was not over the top.

This is a big deal and sends a clear message that the Raptors intend to continue building off of the franchise-record 48 win series and near first-round playoff win over Brooklyn.

"We want to win in Toronto, we want to go out there and compete in the NBA, we want to fight and we want to stand on our own, make a name and try to compete for a championship,” said Raptors president/general manager Masai Ujiri, before expanding on why it was so important to retain Lowry, the team's heart and soul and top performer.

“That's why we're here today and you only do that with the players and the coaches you have. So for us to have a fighter, a bull dog, everything that you want to name, a leader and somebody that went through growing pains and came back here a changed man and came back here to fight for the Raptors and play the way that he played - and then not only that but to stand up as a man and make a decision one day after free agency started - I think says a whole lot about this person that sits beside me.

“It's the beginning. It's the beginning. I know he signed a new contract, it's the beginning of something good that's going to happen to the Toronto Raptors.”

Lowry made it clear on lockout cleanout day that there was a strong chance he would be back and said Thursday while he was impressed by offers from Houston and Miami, Toronto was clearly the right fit for him.

“This organization, from top to bottom, it's an unbelievable, first-class organization. I think everyone's always on the same page, there's never a person that's not in the loop. I think that's how you start a great organization and franchise and I wanted to be a part of that,” Lowry said.

“I love the city, to be around it, I love the snow, a little bit. To be in front of these great fans is one of the reasons that you come back.

“For me, just coming back here and wanting to do something special. Everyone says Toronto can't do this, or Toronto can't sign back their own free agents, I just proved that wrong. I'm back. We're all motivated by last year and I think we're all just getting better. I know those guys are out working, I'm working every day.”

Lowry called the process difficult, “but at the end of the day, it was an easy one, it was the best one” (staying put).

“I didn't want to wait for everybody else (like LeBron James or Carmelo Anthony to pick their teams). I'm not going to wait for this guy to make a decision, I wanted to make my own decision and I wanted to make it when I was ready and I was ready after day one. So that's how easy the process was.

“Masai has given me the opportunity to come back and earn this contract. Last season I earned this contract but I'm not done. I've got bigger plans. I'm only 28, I've got plenty of years left in the tank and for me this is just the start.”


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