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10.05.2019 04:39
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TORONTO - It didnt take long for the Raptors to address their top priority of the summer. Less than 48 hours after the July 1 free agency window opened, the Raptors reached an agreement with their star point guard Kyle Lowry, bringing him back to Toronto for four more years at a reported $48 million, according to several outlets and confirmed by Lowry himself over Twitter. "Toronto will be my home city," the 28-year-old tweeted Wednesday evening, along with a picture of himself decked out in retro Raptors gear. The deal has an early termination option in the final year, allowing Lowry to become an unrestricted free agent after the third season if he chooses. Although the contract has been agreed to in principle, it cant be signed or made official until the NBAs moratorium period is lifted on July 10. Lowry spent the day mulling over Torontos offer and weighing his options with his family and agent after meeting with Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri and head coach Dwane Casey Tuesday afternoon in his hometown of Philadelphia. The Raptors point guard was visited by members of the Rockets front office, also receiving interest from the Heat and Mavericks. Ultimately, he opted to return to the team he helped lead to a division title, at a significant pay raise from what he was making when he enjoyed a career season in 2013-14. Earning $6.2 million last year, Lowry registered career-highs of 17.9 points, 7.4 assists and 4.7 rebounds while narrowly missing out on what would have been his first all-star selection during a breakout campaign with the Raptors. Entering his prime, the eight-year vet will be the eighth highest paid point guard in the league next season after finishing third in Win Shares among players at his position last year. His new contract will be more than twice the size of his previous one, a four-year, $23.5 million deal signed in 2010. Lowry has earned a total of $28.8 million over the first eight years of his career. Although a deserved raise played a role in his decision to re-sign - the Raptors had the advantage of being able to pay him more than any other team - Lowry became entrenched as a leader with the team both on the court and in the locker room, endearing himself to the city with his hard play. "At the end of the day its still a business and you have to be a businessman for the situation that youre in," he had said the afternoon after his team was eliminated in the opening round of the playoffs. "But I am very happy. This has been one of the best seasons Ive had, through and through. Best coaches, teammates, [front office]. Its been great. I am happy. Without a doubt I can say Im happy." "I love this place," he continued. "I love the situation. Its simple as that." For that very reason his return was hardly in doubt, though Raptors fans are generally conditioned to hope for the best and fear for the worst. The Raptors front office, coaching staff and even Lowrys teammates remained confident a deal would get done throughout the process but he did have other viable options to consider, given his desire to compete for a championship and his status as this summers most coveted point guard. Bringing him back, amid the long-time perception that players dont want to be in Toronto, is a major coup for a Raptors franchise that is determined to change their culture under the leadership of Ujiri and MLSE boss Tim Leiweke. The Raptors acquired Lowry in a trade from Houston during the summer of 2012 after he fell out of favour with Rockets coach Kevin McHale. Despite a turbulent first season in Toronto, one that saw him battle injury and feud with Coach Casey, Lowry came to training camp in the best shape of his playing career and took his game to a new level after a pre-season meeting with Ujiri sparked his competitive nature. With the Raptors contemplating a rebuild following the December trade of Rudy Gay, Lowrys best friend, Ujiri nearly moved the point guard in a deal that would have sent him to New York. Fuelled by Lowrys breakout, the resurgent Raptors continued to win and Ujiri slowly became a believer. Last season, Ujiris first at the helm of the Raptors, was always supposed to be a "show me" year for Lowry. Ujiri had always promised to be fair to Lowry and maintained he would be given the platform to sink or swim. Like any other investment, Lowry is a calculated risk but the Raptors are betting the 2013-14 version will be more of the norm than an anomaly going forward. Prioritizing continuity this offseason, Ujiri can now shift his focus to re-signing restricted free agents Patrick Patterson and Greivis Vasquez, both of whom should attract varying degrees of interest on the open market. If retained, the Raptors wont have much more than their mid-level exception to spend and could flirt with the luxury tax this coming season. Chicago Bears Jerseys . Anything less than gold for either nation is considered a disappointment. Yet for Switzerland, advancing to the semifinal might be a victory in itself. Cody Parkey Jersey . The Irish golfer, whose father Patrick died from cancer, says he underwent surgery for sun spots. The 42-year-old Harrington told Irish radio station Today FM: "Ive had a number of skin cancers removed off my face. - The Eastern Conference-leading Toronto Raptors are back in the great white north for a brief moment and will host the Dallas Mavericks Friday night from Air Canada Centre. James Daniels Jersey . Fognini won 7-5, 6-2, 6-2 after Argentinas Carlos Berlocq had beaten Andreas Seppi 4-6, 6-0, 6-2, 6-1 on the outdoor clay surface. Doubles are set for Saturday with reverse singles on Sunday to decide which team reaches the quarterfinals. Trey Burton Bears Jersey . Various media outlets, including the Detroit Free Press, indicate a deal is close, while USA Today cited an unidentified person directly involved with the negotiations as saying the pact is for two years.Boca Raton, FL ( - Two conference champions will clash head to head in the inaugural Boca Raton Bowl as the Marshall Thundering Herd and the Northern Illinois Huskies converge on FAU Stadium on Dec. 23. Marshall nearly made it through an unbeaten season in 2014, but dropped a regular-season finale to Western Kentucky, 67-66, in overtime that served as the teams lone loss. The Thundering Herd then won the Conference USA title over Louisiana Tech, 26-23, which set them up with this bowl game against Northern Illinois. Speaking of the Huskies, NIU was able to easily capture the Mid-American Conference title with a 51-17 victory over Bowling Green on Detroits Ford Field. With the invite to the inaugural Boca Raton Bowl, Northern Illinois extended its consecutive bowl game streak to seven seasons. Its the ninth time in the past 11 years NIU has been present in a postseason bowl contest. This clash between Northern Illinois and Marshall represents the eighth time these teams will meet. NIU holds a 4-3 all-time advantage over the Thundering Herd in the series, but Marshall has won the two most recent contests in 1999 and 2001. Marshalls offense has consistently been one of the most dominant in the FBS this season, entering this bowl game averaging 45.1 ppg with a whopping 563.4 total offensive ypg mark. At the center of it all is veteran quarterback Rakeem Cato - a Heisman hopeful for the last few seasons and the Herds field general. Cato passed for 3,622 yards and 37 touchdowns in 2014, with 13 interceptions and six more rushing scores. His 278.6 passing ypg was a large reason for the teams success. What could be a big blow to the Herds lineup is the potential unavailability of running back Devon Johnson, who has been dealing with knee issues for the better part of November and December. Johnson has rushed for 1,636 yards with 16 touchdowns on 191 carries this season, but has been severely limited in the teams past few games because of the nagging injuries. Steward Butler (781 yards, seven touchdowns) would get the start in the backfield if Johnson cant go. Catos receivers have been exceptionally reliable this season, led by Tommy Shulers 74 receptions, 953 yards and eight touchdowns. Tight end Eric Frohnapfel (404 yards, five touchdowns) and Deon-Tay McManus (375 yards, five touchdowns) are strong red-zone threats. And freshman Angelo Jean-Louis (464 yards, five touchdowns) has been as good as advertised. For most that have faced Marshall this season, those teams have found it relatively difficult to score against the tough Herd defensive unit. Marshall is allowing opponents to score just 20.8 ppg, which includes the outlandish 66 points scored by Western Kentucky. Opponents are also averaging only 351.8 offensive ypg against the Herd, who have played three teams from the MAC already this season (all wins). Linebacker Neville Hewitt leads the team with 114 tackles on the season, adding in 12 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks to his resume. But Marshall has largely prided itself on an exceptionally talented and deep secondary,, which is led by Taj Letman (83 tackles, four interceptions), Darryl Roberts (16 pass breakups) and Corey Tindal (11 pass breakups).ddddddddddddLineman Arnold Blackmon (13.5 tackles for loss, eight sacks) will be the main cog trying to slow a strong NIU run game. We indicated to Conference USA, who makes the ultimate decision, that we would like to play the best possible opponent, and that is what we received in Northern Illinois, said Marshall athletic director Mike Hamrick. NIU has been one of the elite group of five schools this season, and I know that our student-athletes, fans and staff are very excited for this matchup. Northern Illinois won its third MAC title in the past four years with the defeat of Bowling Green. NIU loves to run the football, which has been the case for a number of years. But even without star rushing quarterback Jordan Lynch, the Huskies have made it work with Cameron Stingily (895 yards, 13 touchdowns) and current quarterback Drew Hare (850 yards, eight touchdowns). The Huskies average an eye-popping 252.9 rushing ypg. While Hare has done plenty of damage using his legs this season, hes managed to put together a solid portfolio of passing work. Hare enters the game with Marshall completing just shy of 60 percent of his passes (59.9 percent) for 2,097 yards and 17 touchdowns against only two interceptions. He averages 161.3 passing ypg, and has been the leader of an NIU squad posting 32.2 ppg this season. Receiver DaRon Brown has been stellar catching the ball from Hare this season, registering 1,002 yards and six touchdowns on 64 receptions. Juwan Brescacins 405 receiving yards and five touchdowns is the next closest to Browns totals, though Aregeros Turner (343 yards, two touchdowns) has made himself useful in the passing game. Northern Illinois defensive game has been on point, especially down the stretch when things could have unraveled so easily for NIU. The Huskies are allowing opponents to score 23.6 ppg and gain 382.9 offensive ypg this season, though NIU hasnt faced an offense quite as dangerous as Marshalls yet. But against strong offensive teams like Toledo (24 points), Western Michigan (21 points) and Bowling Green (17 points), the Huskies showed they can defend some of the best. Safety Marlon Moore has been at the top of the teams tackle list all season long, and enters this contest with Marshall owning 93 stops to pace the Huskies. Dechan Durantes four interceptions is a team high, and he could prove useful against Cato, who threw four picks against WKU. Paris Logan (three interceptions, fo15 pass breakups) will likely be shadowing Shuler, and Jason Meehan (9.5 tackles for loss, seven sacks) will be in charge of trying to contain the run game. As far as bowl games, youre going to have two conference champions going at it, and you dont get that in many, if any, bowl games outside of the College Football Playoff, NIU coach Rod Carey said. Its an unbelievable matchup. We have a ton of respect for Marshall, coach (Doc) Holliday and their staff and what they have done this year. 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