After the shock of DeMar DeRozan being traded to the San Antonio Spurs worse off, not much was heard from DeRozan but for a few tweets voicing his disappointment in how the Raptors failed to give him a heads up prior to advising him he had been traded.
That silenced changed this week after DeMar DeRozan spoke to ESPN’s Chris Haynes in an interview that was both honest and candid. DeMar said that he is still in shock over the trade and that the last week has been a blur.
The Raptors sent DeRozan, Poeltl and a 2019 draft pick sent to the Spurs in exchange for Danny Green and Kawhi Leonard. While it is not expected that DeRozan will speak negatively about the franchise he called home for nine years, there is little doubt that he was most unhappy with how it played out. For a player that contributed as much as DeRozan did, the Raptors should be ashamed of the way they managed themselves in communicating with DeMar.
For Raptors sports punters, some are praising them over the trade, while others are displeased to lose the popular and iconic star who contributed not only to the team but the overall Toronto community, one he considered his second home and had no desire to leave. However, with Leonard’s arrival, sports books will be watching closely as they set odds, and for Canadian basketball punters, there is few better to place bets with than BetOnline Sports, and with promotions that offer up to $2500 in bonuses, the upcoming NBA season is a prime opportunity to prepare and get early bets registered.
While speaking to Haynes, DeMar said he felt that he was not treated with the respect he feels was deserved after sacrificing as much as he did for nine years. He added,
“By just giving me the say-so of letting me know something’s going on, or it’s a chance [that I’d be traded]. That’s all I wanted. I’m not saying you don’t have to trade me. Just let me know something’s going on because I sacrificed everything. Just let me know, you know what I mean? That’s all I ask.
The star centre also mentioned that those who know him know he is low maintenance person, and that all he wanted was to be told so he could prepare for the next chapter, and being denied that, he does not understand. DeRozan feels that Masai Ujiri, the president of the Raptors, mislead him. While speaking at a press conference, Ujiri stated that he was sorry by the lack of communication when he last spoke to DeMar as a Summer League before the trade was announced.
Commenting on Ujiri’s statement, DeRozan said,
“It seemed like I was in that discussion of moving forward with the team. My whole approach was like every single summer. Preparing, going out there, supporting the young guys in Summer League, figuring out ways how I can be better, make my team better. That was the feeling and that was the gist of the conversations we had with moving forward, having an opportunity to do something special all over again. So that was my mindset and everybody around me’s mindset as well.”
DeRozan added that he always had an excellent relationship with Ujiri, and that in itself made it that much harder. He added,
“I mean when you use the word ‘family,’ ‘brother,’ or whatever, things other people use lightly…for me once you use that term, I stick by that term. I stand by that term. So whether it’s something I like or don’t like, I’m going to accept it if you come to me and let me know beforehand. But don’t make one thing seem like another thing and catch me off guard and do something else.
Adding to that, DeRozan said,
“That was my whole problem. I understand how the game works, how the business works. My mindset was that I was always going to be in Toronto my whole career, but I was never naive. Just let me know. That’s where my frustration came from. And I think it showed. From the fans to even myself. It just caught me completely off guard. … To hit me with that at midnight out the blue. Like, c’mon. Two days prior, it was asked, ‘Is anything going on?’ If it is just let me know because the rumours keep coming up. Two days later, you’re going here.”
DeRozan was a much-loved figure in Toronto and was also the team’s leader in points scored and games played. DeMar, who is soon to turn 29, said the comments and well-wishes received from fans and teammates has been overwhelming. One of those was Kyle Lowry, who sent him a text message that DeRozan found touching.
“He couldn’t believe it, but he gave me some words that helped me through the whole day, what to prepare for. As him just being my brother, outside of my teammate, he was there for me in that moment. You could tell it affected him as well, so it was cool just to have that support from him.”
While the trade will see the talented Kawhi Leonard joining the Raptors line up, many of those who are fans of the Raptors voiced their displeasure with the move. Many star players do not want to play for Toronto, and with DeMar being one of the league’s top players, his dedication in helping Toronto become a highly talented franchise only to be traded in that manner was met with much disapproval. For many, it cost the franchise and its management team respect.
During his interview with Chris Hayes, DeMar mentioned,
“I didn’t want to put us in no jam where we wouldn’t be able to help the team by bringing in other guys. I didn’t want to just ask for the max. I wanted to do whatever I could to make sure anything we needed to have down the line, we could have. It was always sacrificing for the betterment of the team. I made it clear I wanted to be there.”
The day after news of the trade was announced, DeRozan spent time at Drake’s house discussing the legacy he leaves behind in Toronto. The only positive for DeRozan is that he will be joining Rudy Gay once he arrived in San Antonio. Gay is a former teammate, and the two were close before he was traded in 2013.
After speaking with Drake, it was Gay who DeRozan next spoke too. When quizzed about the conversation, DeMar said he told Gay,
“ Man, dude just traded me, like, what?’ Rudy’s like, ‘Man, to who?’ I said, ‘To y’all.’ He started laughing. He said ‘Look, I don’t mean to laugh, but I got my boy back, man. You gonna be alright, man. Don’t worry about it.”
When Hayes asked DeRozan the type of player San Antonio is getting, he said a player that has proven himself time and time again. DeRozan will be missed, not only by his teammates but by the fans that support the Raptors.