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. Darren Daulton Jersey . The Canadian Football Leagues all-time passing leader said he has not made a final decision, but he will discuss his future with Montreal Alouettes owner Bob Wetenhall on the weekend. Steve Carlton Jersey . -- Houston Rockets coach Kevin McHale searched more than three quarters for five guys who would play well together. http://www.cheapphilliesjerseys.com/?tag...g-mcgraw-jersey. Unlike last year when nobody got in, there have been estimates of as many as five getting voted in this time around and as few as one, Greg Maddux. Cheap Phillies Jerseys Authentic . - Vince Wilfork has played only two career games in Kansas City. Cheap Philadelphia Phillies Jerseys .She struggled with a hacking cough, she was sick, and she twice celebrated too early, but she held her composure in a 6-3, 7-6 (5) victory on Saturday.On her third match point, she let her racket go before hearing a let call to what she thought was an ace.SAN DIEGO - There was no way the Chargers could get through Sunday without doing some serious scoreboard watching. Buffalos 19-0 win against Miami was being shown on the scoreboard video screen while the Chargers were warming up for their game against Oakland. Updates of New Englands 41-7 victory against Baltimore were shown during the game. "I was going to know, somehow," said quarterback Philip Rivers, whose Chargers needed both Miami and Baltimore to lose to stay alive in the race for the AFCs second wild-card spot. The Chargers still had to do their part, which they did with a 26-13 victory against the hapless Raiders. San Diego overcame three turnovers while benefiting from two turnovers and 12 penalties for 73 yards by the Raiders. The Chargers (8-7), who have won three straight games for the first time this season, head into their finale still needing help. They have to beat Kansas City at home while needing Baltimore to lose at Cincinnati and Miami to lose at home to the New York Jets. "All three went our way today, including the one we had our control in," Rivers said. "Same boat next week. We need all three to go our way. The only one we can control is the one here against the Chiefs." Rivers threw a go-ahead, 4-yard touchdown pass to rookie Keenan Allen with 5 minutes left in the third quarter and Ryan Mathews ran for 99 yards and one touchdown, setting a career high with 1,111 yards. Nick Novak kicked four field goals for San Diego. Mathews limped to the locker room in the fourth quarter but later returned to the game. He left the stadium wearing a protective boot on his left foot. "The Chargers are still beating and I know no one wants to play us right now, thats for sure," said safety Eric Weddle, who had an interception. Oakland could have pulled within one score, but Rod Streater couldnt hold on to Matt McGloins 39-yard pass as he came down in the end zone with 4:38 left. Oakland challenged but the ruling was upheld. Oakland turned it over on downs with 54 seconds left and lost its fifth straight game. "It shouldnt have been close, but they dont give you any extra points for winning by a bigger margin," Rivers said. "Just find a way to win." Oakland (4-11) helped San Diego, too, by committing a dozen penalties. Mike Jenkins was ppenalized 15 yards for taunting Mathews after he pushed the running back out of bounds.dddddddddddd Allen scored six plays later. "We had too many penalties," Raiders coach Dennis Allen said. "A lot of our penalties, specifically defensively, came on third down, which allowed them to extend some drives." The game was tied at 10 after a sloppy first half that included three turnovers by the Chargers and seven penalties for 39 yards by the Raiders. The only score of the first half that wasnt set up by a turnover was a 27-yard field goal by Novak in the first quarter. Early in the second quarter, Rivers wasnt ready for a shotgun snap and the ball bounced off him for a fumble that was recovered by former San Diego State linebacker Miles Burris at the Raiders 42. The drive stayed alive when Mychal Rivera leaped to catch a 37-yard pass from McGloin, and Darren McFadden scored on a 5-yard run on the next play for a 7-3 Oakland lead. Rivers was picked off by Mike Jenkins to end San Diegos next drive, but Weddle then intercepted McGloin at the Raiders 20, deflecting the ball to himself. That set up Mathews 7-yard run and the Chargers regained the lead at 10-7. San Diego forced the Raiders to punt from their 40 but rookie Keenan Allens fumble was recovered by Shelton Johnson at the 16. The Raiders had to settle for Sebastian Janikowskis tying 20-yard field goal with 10 seconds left before halftime. "Really, the series of the game was us holding them to a field goal at the end of the half," Weddle said. "That gave us some momentum. We made it interesting for a while but the better team won today. Just a great team win to have everything on the line and to struggle for a little bit but to show some character and toughness to overcome those issues we had. Novak kicked three more field goals in the second half, from 48, 28 and 33 yards. Janikowski added a 42-yarder. "We were right there in the game," Oaklands Charles Woodson said, referring to the halftime tie. "There really wasnt a whole lot that needed to be fixed. It was a close ballgame, our game to go out there and win." NOTES: Chargers tight end John Phillips injured a knee in the first quarter and didnt return. Chargers safety Marcus Gilchrist was shaken up in the second quarter but returned. ' ' '