TORONTO - As the country celebrated Canada Day two years ago the Raptors sent a small army to Manhattan, led by then general manager Bryan Colangelo, in an effort to recruit the most coveted free agent point guard on the market. The Raptors contingent - which included Dwane Casey, Jay Triano and Larry Tanenbaum - pulled out all the stops trying to sell Canadas own Steve Nash on a move to Toronto. After a two-hour meeting, highlighted by a video presentation featuring hockey icon Wayne Gretzky, the Raptors left Nash with a generous offer. Days later he turned them down, opting for less money and a better shot at a championship in Los Angeles. Colangelo went forward with his Plan B, a trade for Rockets point guard Kyle Lowry. Now the Raptors find themselves in a similar predicament, only this time the approach couldnt have been more dissimilar. They didnt send a front office mob, there was no video cameo made by The Great One. This time they left the kitchen sink in Toronto. Instead, Raptors GM Masai Ujiri and head coach Dwane Casey had a quiet sit down with Lowry in his hometown of Philadelphia Tuesday afternoon. True to form Ujiri and his coach exuded confidence. Calm, cool and collected, the Raptors brass did not find it necessary to camp out on Lowrys front porch at 12:01 AM, the time in which teams were able to officially commence negotiation with free agents. Their sales pitch centred on a simple premise, one that the team had already been preaching publicly for months - they want him back. What they didnt say, and would be reluctant to admit, is that they need him back. Rightly or wrongly, the perception that players dont want to come to or stay in Canada has dogged the Raptors since their inception. After all, Nash wasnt the first player to spurn the Raptors. Theres a long history of it in fact. Damon Stoudamire was the first star to want out, followed by Vince Carter - the franchises best player - seven years later. Tracy McGrady and Chris Bosh each bolted via free agency, while both Kenny Anderson and Alonzo Morning refused to even put on the jersey. The new regime intends to snuff that stigma once and for all. Along with MLSE boss Tim Leiweke and global ambassador extraordinaire Drake, Ujiri has helped empower a fan base that had lost hope prior to their arrival a year ago. "Why cant I change it," Ujiri said, challenging that perception as he was introduced as the Raptors new GM last June. "Its our job to make it better, its our job to make it good, its our job to create a winning environment and thats why Im here." With the embattled franchise finally on the precipice of turning the page and changing a culture that has beset them for the better part of the last 20 years, the stakes are much higher now than they were in 2012 when they struck out on Nash. For all the progress the Raptors made in 2014, turning heads as a result of their breakout campaign, spirited playoff run and We The North campaign, the wind could be taken out of their sails in a hurry should Lowry fly the coop, especially if he leaves for Houston or Miami. This is their first big test, one they dont intend to - and cant afford to - fail. Lowry is Torontos No. 1 priority, theyve made no secret of that. "Were going to go full force," Ujiri promised last week. And they have. The Raptors initial offer to Lowry was substantial, said to be in the $11-$12 million range annually over a four or potentially five-year term. A salary in that range would make Lowry the seventh highest paid point guard in 2014-15, not including Kyrie Irving whose max extension wont take into effect until the following season. Of course, theres more to Ujiris pursuit of Lowry than just pride. The Raptors GM would happily show Lowry, or any other player the door if he felt theyre not worth their price tag. 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. Its because hes a player worthy of the money that Ujiri has done - and will continue to do - everything in his power to keep Lowry in a Raptors uniform. Still, the decision belongs to Lowry. The 28-year-old will take a few days to weigh his options with his family and agent Andy Miller as Raptors fans hold their collects breath. With Torontos 20th year anniversary season around the corner, keeping Lowry would go a long way in the continued saga to rewrite the franchises troubled history. Air Max Outlet Online . Jagr had a goal and two assists, Andy Greene scored 43 seconds into overtime and Marek Zidlicky had two goals as the Devils rallied past the Washington Capitals 5-4 Saturday night. 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Hadens contract runs through the 2019 season and includes $45 million guaranteed, agent Drew Rosenhaus told The Associated Press. The package also contains a $14 million signing bonus. One of the AFCs top defensive backs and one of Clevelands most popular athletes, Haden made his first Pro Bowl last season, his fourth with the team. The Browns selected him with the No. 7 overall pick in 2010. "Joes a good, young player whos made a commitment to our organization, and hes somebody with whom we want to move forward in order to advance our football team," general manager Ray Farmer said in a statement. "Hes a great person. Hes the right guy to both build with and build around as we attempt to become an elite football team. "When we talk about identifying talent, building through the draft, developing solid players and retaining them, Joe Hadens at the top of the list." Haden posted a photo on Twitter of him signing his new contract. Signing Haden to a long-term deal was a priority for Cleveland this off-season. During the draft, the team selected Oklahoma State cornerback Justin Gilbert early in the first round to play opposite Haden. Last season, Haden had four interceptions, recorded 60 tackles and was credited with 21 passes defenced. He had his first career multiple-interception game and scored his first touchdown, returning an interception 29 yarrds at Cincinnati on Nov.dddddddddddd. 17. According to STATS, Hadens 21 passes defenced in 2013 tied for third in the NFL and his 67 since joining the Browns four years ago are second in the league during that span. Haden averages 1.19 passes defenced per game, the second-highest average among players with 50-plus PBUs since at least 1994. For the most part, Haden has been an exemplary player and citizen since joining the Browns. His only major misstep was the four-game suspension he received in 2012 for violating the leagues substance abuse policy after he tested positive for the stimulant Adderall. First-year Browns coach Mike Pettine is thrilled to have Haden for several years. "Its important for us to extend our core players and continue to grow with guys that represent everything we want this team to be: tough, hard-working and passionate," Pettine said. "Joe obviously loves his teammates, and he loves this city. I know he wants to keep growing and improving as a player. Thats what we need, and thats what we want." With Hadens contract situation resolved, the Browns are expected to focus on getting Pro Bowl tight end Jordan Cameron signed to a long-term deal. Cameron had a breakout season in 2013, making 80 catches for 917 yards and seven TDs. Cameron is in the final season of his contract and has reportedly turned down two offers from the Browns. At Clevelands recent voluntary minicamp, Cameron said hes blocking out any discussion about negotiations to improve. "Ive got a lot of stuff to work on," he said. "Im not anywhere near where I can be. I still have a lot to prove to myself, and Im willing to work." ' ' '