Kyle Lowry had two reasons to smile Tuesday.
The Toronto Raptors point guard put pen to paper on a one-year, US$31-million contract extension before taking part in his first full practice with the NBA team in the preseason.
Lowry had been limited since suffering a thumb injury en route to the NBA title last season.
“It was an opportunity that worked out for both sides,” Lowry, 33, said. “It’s a place I wanted to be. It’s a place I’ve been most successful in my career. I think it works on both sides.
“It’s just something that is really important and really special to have an opportunity to go out here and play basketball, and make that amount of money playing the sport that you love. It was great. It got done. We didn’t know it was going to get done, but it got done ... and it’s another stepping stone in my career.”
Lowry acknowledged his conditioning is a work in progress as he gears up for the season opener and banner-raising ceremony on Oct. 22 against visiting New Orleans. But he was happy to get back out on the court.
“Oh, it felt great,” he said. “I needed a couple of oxygen tanks and took a couple of breaks, but it went well. It was fun. It was good to get back up and down. It’s the first time I have done anything – basketball up and down – since June 13th [when the Raptors won the NBA title].
Lowry, 33, is entering his eighth season with the Raptors after helping lead the team to the NBA title last year.
The Philadelphia native scored 26 points during the series-clinching Game 6 of the NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors.
An NBA all-star for the past five seasons, Lowry is the franchise leader in the playoffs for games played (73), points (1,240), three-pointers (157), assists (462) and steals (101).
Lowry -- who holds career averages of 17.4 points, 7.1 assists, 4.9 rebounds and 34.4 minutes in 497 games with Toronto -- knows he’ll be asked to play a different role this season, with Kawhi Leonard having departed for the Los Angeles Clippers.
“I’ve got to be a lot more of a scorer,” he said. “It’s going to be interesting how we play. We are always play move the ball, this, that and the other, backdoors, play through Marc [Gasol] and myself and Freddie [VanVleet] are going to be on the floor together a lot more I believe.
“Pascal [Siakam] is going to get a lot more attention and I’m going to get a lot more attention, but it’s something where I’m used to it and I’m ready for the challenge again. Got to do what’s best for the team and get back to the promised land.”
Raptors coach Nick Nurse feels Lowry’s extension is good for the entire team.
“If you want my opinion on it, I think he certainly deserves it ... It’s nice to have him locked in for two more years,” Nurse said.
“We know what we’re getting. We’re getting a super ultra-competitive guy, nobody plays harder. To me, he just keeps getting better and better.”
The Raptors’ final preseason game is Friday in Brooklyn against the Nets.
Meanwhile, Raptors general manager Bobby Webster says the team remains in discussions with Siakam about a possible extension. The deadline to get that done this season is Oct. 21.