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jokergreen Dec 7 '17
TORONTO - When Kyle Lowry was first introduced to the city of Toronto back in the summer of 2012 he was forced to share the stage with a new teammate, Landry Fields, the two acquired by the Raptors three days apart. Nick Bonino Jersey . Lowry, Torontos fallback option after a failed attempt to woo Steve Nash, was brought in from Houston to battle incumbent point guard Jose Calderon for the starting gig. Then general manager Bryan Colangelo had high hopes for Lowry but at that moment, a consolidated news conference in the concourse of the Air Canada Centre, he was just another player. He was due to earn $5.8 million that season. For Lowry those days are long gone. Thursday morning represented the Raptors first opportunity to make sure he knew that. With the official announcement of Patrick Patterson and Greivis Vasquezs extensions on hold, likely until early next week, this day was all about Lowry. It was his moment, well deserved, not unlike his freshly signed contract and significant pay raise. "This is awesome," Lowry said, borrowing the phrase from GM Masai Ujiri, who had used it moments earlier. Ujiri and his star point guard sat side by side on stage in Real Sports Bar and Grill, located across from the ACC in the heart of downtown Toronto. This was not your run-of-the-mill press conference. It was an event. The Raptors had opened up the festivities to their fans, who played hooky from school and work on a Thursday morning to support a player they have adopted as their own. They screamed, they chanted, they took photos and Lowry - an introvert, who doesnt generally hand out smiles - couldnt wipe the smirk off his face. Retaining Lowry had been the Raptors top priority from the moment last seasons playoff run came to an abrupt end. They spared no expense in showing the 28-year-old how much he means to the embattled franchise and they wasted no time in getting him locked up. Lowry agreed to terms on a four-year, $48 million deal last Wednesday, officially putting pen to paper Thursday morning when the free agent moratorium period was lifted. Lowry was courted by a number of teams - including title contenders in the Houston Rockets and Miami Heat - when free agency unofficially opened on July 1. "They were real factors," Lowry admitted. Returning to Toronto, however likely, was not a lock. Along with his family and agent, Andy Miller, he considered his options, weighing pros and cons and doing his due diligence before coming to a quick decision. It didnt take long for him to realize where he wanted to spend the next three years, with a player option for the fourth. "I think the process was a difficult one but at the end of the day it was an easy one, it was the best one," Lowry said. "I didnt really think about it, honestly, until a week before free agency started. I knew it was going to be kind of stressful, but stressful in a good way. At the end of the day it was easy, it was easy to come back here."  "I didnt want to wait for everybody else," he continued, taking a subtle shot at a few of his fellow free agents, who appear to be in no rush despite holding up the process for the rest of the league. "Im 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 thats how easy the process was." Houston and Miami offered him a chance to compete for a championship right out of the gate but Toronto countered with their recently constructed winning environment, high aspirations, and an opportunity for incremental growth on the way to their ultimate prize. Most importantly, Lowry - an alpha dog by nature - wanted to lead a team to the promise land. Make no bones about it, the Raptors are Lowrys team. "The driving factor was winning," he said. "Honestly, I knew the money was going to come. I knew the years [were] going to come, so that wasnt too much of a worry. I just wanted to be in a situation where I can win and personally grow, as a man and as a player, and help a team and help an organization get to the point where theyre holding that trophy up." With the spotlight comes the pay cheque. "I was [financially secure] before," he joked in response to a question about his new pay raise. "[But] this helps." His new contract will be more than twice the size of his previous one, a four-year, $23.5 million deal signed in 2010, having earned a total of $28.8 million over the first eight years of his career. Lowrys one-time reputation for being a malcontent, like his anonymity, is a thing of the past. Of course, hes not the only one that stands to benefit, shedding a less than flattering league-wide perception as a result of this remarriage with the Raptors. "Everyone says Toronto cant do this, or Toronto cant sign back their own free agents," Lowry acknowledged, with a tip of the cap to the franchises disappointing history. "I just proved that wrong. Im back." Before the Raptors can establish themselves as a preferred destination for the NBAs brightest stars, they know they must take care of their own. Even in a years time - as the team has turned its fortunes and its fan base has reminded the league why theyre one of the best - Ujiri continues to notice a significant change in how the city is perceived when speaking to players around the association. "100 percent," said the Raptors GM. "I think people saw what happened here." "Players want to win and players want to be treated well and we try to treat players well," Ujiri continued. "I think Kyle Lowry was at the forefront of that. Players in the NBA see that and they want to come play where its a great atmosphere, theyre treated well and theres a culture of winning. We expect more players to come here." According to Ujiri, Lowry was ready and willing to do his part in the recruitment process almost immediately after agreeing to terms last week. Still technically a free agent, Lowry texted the Raptors GM shortly after the two reached a verbal agreement to ask him if there was a player he could call and try to steer in Torontos direction. "I wish I had more money to sign another player," Ujiri joked. While all-star and leading scorer DeMar DeRozan remains an integral part of the teams future - and played a significant role in Lowrys decision to return - the unmistakable face of the resurgent Raptors was sitting centre stage. The team is his and, evident in Thursdays mornings turnout, so too is the city. He wont be sharing the stage, or the spotlight any time soon. Two years ago, almost to the day, Colangelo gave Lowry the keys. Now, Ujiri has given him the whole car. "You dont get many chances to say its your team," he said. "Honestly, you dont get many chances. As a competitor, as a professional, I relish in that, the fact that I get to say its my team, Im the leader of the team." Custom Nashville Predators Jerseys . The Montreal Canadiens goaltender has won three of his four games since returning from a lower-body injury that kept him out from the end of the Olympic break until March 15. Yannick Weber Jersey . Fifth-seeded Cilic gained his fourth title in Zagreb and became the third Croat overall to win at least 10 career titles. Cilic also lifted his career record in Zagreb to 22-4, winning 20 of his last 21 matches at the event.Amateurs Sam Waley-Cohen and Nina Carberry are now free to ride in the Grand National at Aintree, after the British Horseracing Authority ruled suspensions due to apply on that day will not stand owing to ambiguous wording of the Rule. Waley-Cohen was banned for seven days following his ride on Long Run at Carlisle on Sunday, while Carberry was similarly hit after her winning effort aboard On The Fringe at Cheltenham.National day, April 9, was due to be part of Waley-Cohens ban, and was the concluding date of Carberrys - but the BHA tweeted: Owing to ambiguous wording of the Rule, suspensions imposed on Sam Waley-Cohen and Nina Carberry will no longer apply on Grand National day. This decision follows a representation to this effect being made by Sam Waley-Cohen today.Waley-Cohen had on Thursday appealed against his ban on now-retired former Gold Cup winner Long Run.Waley-Cohen sent his mount straight into the lead on what was his first start for 672 days and while he jumped well for much of the three-mile journey, a couple of significant errors led to him coming under pressure.Long Run looked sure to finish third after jumping the final fence, but Waley-Cohen appeared to stop riding for a few strides after the last before pushing him out again, being passed by Barachois Silver and Durban Gold and beating just one rival home.Long Run was retired on the spot, while Waley-Cohen was found guilty of failing to take all reasonable and permissible measures to obtain the best possible placing in that he failed to ride out on a horse that could have finished third.Having viewed the film of the race and heard all the evidence, a BHA disciplinary panel, while accepting Long Run was tiring, felt that he could have finished third - but for the fact that Waley-Cohen stopped riding for 12 strides on the run-in.The dates of the suspension were due to include the Grand National and the Fox Hunters Chase at Aintree, although the latter still stands.The panel ordered Waley-Cohens deposit be forfeited as no new evidence was produced, other than that which was considered by the Carlisle stewards on the day.Waley-Cohen is the most successful rider in modern history over the National fences at Aintree, winning six times, including the Topham Handicap Chase over the daunting obstacles 12 months ago.The National confusion centred around the Pinsent Masons Handicap Hurdle, which is restricted to conditional and amateur jockeys.Waley-Cohen told Press Association Sport: The rules as they aree written say they (amateur riders) are banned on a day when there is an amateur chase or an amateur hurdle, but the race after the National is for amateurs and conditionals. Filip Forsberg Jersey. That means it is not an amateur race.Its been a bit of a roller-coaster of a day. From all the disappointment and everything else, the hope is now there. All I need now is a horse.Carberry is also very much in demand over the National obstacles, completing the course four times from five tries, most recently on First Lieutenant last year.A statement from the BHA read: Having received representation from Sam Waley-Cohen today, following his unsuccessful appeal against the seven-day suspension imposed on him by the Carlisle Stewards on 20 March 2016, the British Horseracing Authority has this evening amended the dates of the suspensions imposed on both Sam Waley-Cohen and Nina Carberry to the extent that they will no longer apply on Grand National day, April 9, 2016.The representation from Sam Waley-Cohen suggested that the way in which the Schedule of the Rules was worded was ambiguous. While the intention of the Schedule is to suspend amateur riders when races are taking place in which they can participate, the BHA accept that the various changes to the Schedule over the years mean that the Rule is open to different interpretation.The ban was previously scheduled to apply on Grand National day because of the existence of a hurdle race at Aintree which is confined to amateur riders and conditional jockeys. However, the specific wording of Schedule (B)1 10.1 of the Rules of Racing states that a riding suspension imposed on an Amateur Rider will apply:10.1.2 when the Rule Contravention occurs in a steeple chase, hurdle race or National Hunt Flat Race on those days:10.1.2.1 when an Amateur Riders steeple chase, or10.1.2.2 when an Amateur Riders hurdle race, or10.1.2.3 when a National Hunt Flat Race confined to Amateur Riders and Conditional Jockeys is run.The representation pointed to the fact that the clause relating to National Hunt Flat races refers specifically to races confined to Amateur Riders and Conditional Jockeys, however the clause relating to hurdle races refers only to races confined to Amateur Riders.Having now identified the anomaly, the BHA will take steps to amend the Schedule to ensure future amateur suspensions correctly reflect the aforementioned intention.Waley-Cohens new dates of suspension are April 3-5 inclusive, April 7, 11, 12 and 15. Carberry sits out April 1-5, April 7 and 11. Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys China Cheap Jerseys From China Cheap NFL Jerseys Authentic Wholesale Jerseys China Cheap NFL Jerseys China NFL Cheap Jerseys ' ' '