TORONTO - As rumours surrounding the future of Kyle Lowry - this summers biggest free-agent prize at his position - begin to swirl, the most reasonable question that comes to mind is, what took so long? The Raptors breakout point guard has been the subject of recent speculation, originating at ESPN, connecting him to the four-time defending Eastern Conference champion Miami Heat. The parties are said to have "mutual interest". Often, where theres smoke theres fire, but thats not always the case in the NBA, especially not at this time of the year. Smoke, in this case, comes with the territory. Fresh off a career season, leading the Raptors to an unexpected division title, Lowry is poised to become a coveted commodity in unrestricted free agency when he officially hits the open market on July 1. If the Heat are the first team to come knocking, they assuredly wont be the last. Why wouldnt Miami be interested in Lowrys services? The Heat are less than a week removed from a disheartening trip to the NBA Finals, where they looked vastly inferior to the San Antonio Spurs in a five-game elimination. Their current point guard, Mario Chalmers - also a soon-to-be free agent - was notably ineffective en route to losing his starting job late in the series. And Lowry? Why wouldnt he want to play in South Beach? Under the right circumstances, accompanied by a suitable contract, you would be hard-pressed to find someone unwilling to play in one of the leagues most desirable destinations with LeBron James, the best basketball player on the planet. Therein lies the caveat, and its a big one; money. The Heat, under their current construction, can only offer so much of it. Firstly, in order for Miami to put together a passable offer to Lowry or any other prominent free agent, James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh would need to opt out of their contracts - owing them each more than $20 million over the next two season - to renegotiate smaller deals. Udonis Haslem would likely have to do the same. Lowry, underpaid for most of his eight-year career, has been one of the leagues bargain players, earning just over $6 million last season. At best, Miami - or any other capped out team - may be able to offer something in that neighbourhood. From a Raptors perspective, nothing has changed since Masai Ujiri addressed the point guards future six weeks ago, making Lowry the teams top offseason priority. "Its very important for us, in terms of continuity," said the Raptors general manager that afternoon, asked about the likelihood of re-signing Lowry. "For me, negotiating is easy if we want Kyle to be here and Kyle wants to be here." "I think well be fair with Kyle and well figure it out and I think its important. So well go through that process but were optimistic stuff will happen." They remain confident to this day and much of that stems from the fact that they can offer Lowry more than any other team, while also providing him the platform to lead a winning team with a cast that hes comfortable with. The 28-year-old is staring down his first super-sized NBA contract and in a league where so much can change in three-to-four years, there are no guarantees that another one will follow. Certainly, if hes willing to sacrifice in exchange for a better chance at competing for a championship hell have that opportunity but for a player entering his prime, one with a young family to support, it would be surprising to see him leave that much money on the table. With the Raptors he could double the size of his most recent contract, a four-year $23 million deal signed back in 2010. As you might expect, Lowry and his representatives will test the market, see whats out there and leverage the interest hes sure to get from other teams. As he wisely pointed out during a midseason wave of rumours following the trade of his best friend Rudy Gay, its a business. The Raptors will also have a big decision to make, holding the 20th pick in next weeks draft, five days before teams are able to sit down and meet with their free agent point guard. Would they select a lead guard as insurance? "I think the biggest thing is to not make draft decisions based on that, on your current roster and your current situations," Dan Tolzman, the Raptors director of scouting, said last week. "You keep it in the back of your head and youll take it into account when youre drafting players but if the most talented guy or the highest guy on your list happens to be a position that your loaded up with you can work stuff out later." "So I dont think you really approach the draft like, okay we need a point guard because we dont know what the situation is. But at the same time if the best player on the board is a point guard, well figure it out." And so it begins. For four months, primarily in the next two, the game shifts from the court to the boardroom, podium and social media sphere. The sound of sneakers squeaking and whistles whistling are replaced by rumours, bravado and conjecture. Buckle up. Derrick Nnadi Jersey . I kind of got a taste of being able to pick a suit with the draft lottery, I went with the bow tie. Anthony Hitchens Jersey . -- San Francisco 49ers offensive co-ordinator Greg Roman is a finalist to replace Joe Paterno at Penn State, his agent said Monday. http://www.kcchiefsnflfansclub.com/Black...ey.html?cat=948. Espanyol midfielder Sanchez intercepted Bilbao goalkeeper Gorka Iraizozs clearance and, having spotted a gap, risked using his less-favoured left foot to fire a beautifully precise long-range shot that bounced in from high up the near post in the 24th minute. Breeland Speaks Jersey . "First, I would like to offer my deepest and sincerest apologies for any harm I have inflicted on University of Missouri defensive lineman, Michael Sam," the statement read. Stefan Charles Jersey . Mats Zuccarello and Derek Stepan scored shootout goals, and backup goalie Cam Talbot earned his second win in two nights as the Rangers shook off a late tying tally and beat the Maple Leafs 2-1 Monday night. ORLANDO, Fla. -- Orlando City owner Flavio Augusto da Silva knows theres no way his MLS expansion franchise could take the place of any Brazil club in the hearts of any Brazilian soccer fan. But with the signing of Kaka, da Silva hopes theres one room for more. "We want to be that second club," da Silva said Tuesday when Orlando City formally introduced the Brazilian three-time World Cup participant. The 32-year old midfielder, whose full name is Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite, will join the MLS club when it begins play in January 2015. Until then, he will be on loan to San Paulo FC. He most recently played for AC Milan, terminating that contract last week. His deal with Orlando City is for three-and-a-half years. "This is not about the money," said Kaka, the world player of the year in 2007. "I know you know my resume. I can play anywhere else if money were the top question. This is a life opportunity, for myself, for my family. Players from now on will be looking for soccer opportunity in the United States." Over 200 fans greeted Kaka Monday night at Orlando International Airport. He was expected to join a watch party of the United States-Belgium World Cup match Tuesday afternoon. Some City streetlightss had a ".ddddddddddddomingsoon" hashtag with Kafkas silhouette outside the downtown club where the press conference was held Kaka was expected to join a watch party of the United States-Belgium World Cup match Tuesday afternoon. The signing was the culmination of two years of "flirting" between da Silva and Kaka ("I love Flavio, but Im married and so is he," Kaka joked) after the World Cup champion MVP served as a spokesman for one of da Silvas companies. Even after da Silva sold the company, his pursuit continued as Kaka entertained some MLS offers, most notably from New York. Both Kakas appreciation of the Orlando market as well as Brazil delivering the highest number of international visitors to the destination, influenced his decision to become the face of Orlandos startup efforts as the MLS 21st franchise. The team has won two USL Pro regular season titles and two post season championships. Orlando City co-owner Phil Rawlins said that signing Kaka was one of the franchises primary goals. "Not only did we sign a Brazilian superstar, we signed a world superstar," Rawlins said. "Kaka is not here to retire, hes here to win. Weve put the MLS on notice." 16:38ET 01-07-14 Wholesale Jerseys 2019 Discount Jerseys Cheap Jerseys Store NFL T-shirts From China China NFL Hoodies Wholesale NFL Jerseys Wholesale NFL Autographed Jerseys ' ' '