Even though we spotted former Raptors star DeMar DeRozan yucking it up with ESPN personality Cari Champion courtside of the Atlanta Dream vs. LA Sparks clash on Tuesday night and saw the disgruntled star flash a few smiles, hes still got a bad taste in his mouth from the way Raptors president Masai Ujiri handled his trade to the Spurs.
Fresh piece of gum. Really flavorful. https://t.co/UpB4yLNJlC
Not only was his career and family stability thrown for a loop, his close friendship with guard Kyle Lowery was ripped apart along with DeRozan’s perception of loyalty.
“I felt like I wasn’t treated with what I sacrificed for nine years, with the respect that I thought I deserved.” DeRozan told ESPN’s Chris Haynes on Tuesday night’s edition of SportsCenter (h/t ClutchPoints’ Tomer Azarly).
“By just giving me the say-so of letting me know something’s going on, or there’s a chance. 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. That’s all I ask.”
DeRozan, the franchise’s all-time leading scorer, was also critical of Ujiri’s explanation for trading him to the Spurs in the Kawhi Leonard deal.
“I gave everything I had to that team. Every single day and night, whatever was asked from me to make us better,” DeRozan told Haynes, per TSN’s Josh Lewenberg. “And it showed…So when (Ujiri) put that out there saying ‘gave them chances‘ and ‘I have to do something’… it’s B.S. to me.”
I want to apologize to DeMar DeRozan… We want to win and I have to do everything with this organization to get us to a championship level.” Raptors President Masai Ujiri began his Kawhi / DeMar trade press conference today with a thank you and apology to DeRozan. https://t.co/MdUlWSNxEE
Shortly after news of DeRozan’s move to the Spurs broke, the four-time All-Star posted the following message on his Instagram Story: “Be told one thing & the outcome another. Can’t trust em. Ain’t no loyalty in this game. Sell you out quick for a little bit of nothing… Soon you’ll understand… Don’t disturb…”
DeRozan is really sour, but hell get over it. Its the cost of doing business. One moment youre on this fantasy ride, comfortable, everything is perfect. Then the reality of big business takes control and the best laid plans of mice and men erase all of your happiness from the hard drive.
He’s already repping his new squad.
DeMar DeRozan with Rudy Gay giving a shoutout to the San Antonio Spurs is like travelling through a time warp AND visiting an alternate universe. https://t.co/tQuKB7fzMp
Rap kingpin Drake was able to lend DeRozan an ear and some support on the way out the door. DeRozan told ESPN’s Chris Haynes on Sportscenter that he went to Drake’s house the day the deal was agreed upon to reflect on his time in Toronto.
“Yeah, day it came out, I went to Drake’s house,” he said. “Me and him, sat and talked for a couple of hours. Not even on some hoops stuff. Just to hear the words that come from him being the person that he is in this world, especially in Toronto. What I meant to this city. It was what I needed.”
Once news of the deal became public, Drake posted a farewell message to DeRozan on Instagram: “To my brother @demar_derozan I want to say 10 million thank you’s on behalf of YOUR city. You are a fixture in Toronto forever and you gave everything you had. Through your leadership we had the most exciting years in franchise history. I am grateful to have witnessed your combination of skill, persistence, and loyalty from the same seats every night. Thank you for being an incredible captain and an even better friend.”
DeRozan is expected to attend this week’s USA Basketball minicamp in Las Vegas, which will be run by Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich. Its a great opportunity for Popp and Derozan to start developing some chemistry and for DeRozan to start facing the reality of his situation; while it’s inconvenient, it isnt all that bad.