Kyle Lowry, on paper, appears to be an ideal trade candidate. He's about to turn 35-years-old and has an expiring contract on a younger Raptors team that meticulously carved out something close to max cap space this offseason. Yet every indication leading up to the deadline suggests that the Raptors do not plan to move Lowry. 

On Thursday, TSN's Josh Lewenberg reported that the Raptors are telling interested teams that they do not plan on trading Lowry. SportsNet's Michael Grange has issued a similar report, and Lowry's agent, Mark Bartelstein, denied rumors linking Lowry to the Philadelphia 76ers in February. There is still plenty of time leading up to the deadline on March 25, but for now, it doesn't appear as though the Raptors are in any rush to move Lowry. 

Of course, these reports could all be leverage plays. The more fervently Toronto clings to the possibility of retaining Lowry, the more opposing teams will believe they have to give up in order to get him. It's entirely possible that the Raptors are very open to dealing Lowry, but not at the price that other teams have so far been willing to pay. Lowry is still an All-Star-caliber player, and Toronto would be justified in demanding a package that reflects that. 

There's also the possibility that the Raptors have warmed up to the idea of retaining Lowry beyond this season. Yes, doing so would likely rob them of the cap space they carved out for this offseason, but with Norman Powell improving to such a degree that retaining him would now likely be quite expensive, the Raptors may simply believe that their own players are better than their free-agent alternatives. They saved their cap space expecting to make a run at Giannis Antetokounmpo, who has now re-signed with the Bucks, so retaining Lowry and Powell might be their best option next season. 

Nothing is ever certain at the NBA trade deadline. No matter what teams intend to do, one surprising offer can change the entire equation. At this moment, it doesn't appear as though the Raptors are likely to trade Lowry. That could easily change in the next week, and if recent NBA history is any indication, there's a good chance that it will.