Trading DeMar DeRozan to the San Antonio Spurs in exchange for Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green could be considered a bold move. Leonard coming off a season-ending injury, and also wanting to take his talents to LA next season, a dicey move to say the least. DeRozan believes he was treated unfairly and should’ve been notified about the trade beforehand.
DeRozan sat down with ESPN’s Chris Haynes for his first interview since the trade and discussed the situation between him and Raptor’s general manager Masai Ujiri.
“All summer through the talks we had -- through the talks he had with my agent -- you know, it seemed like I was in that discussion of moving forward with the team,” he said. “My whole approach every summer was preparing, going out there and supporting the young guys at summer league, figuring out ways I can be better, make my team better, and that was the gist of the conversations we had with moving forward. Having the opportunity to do something special all over again, you know? So that was my mindset and everybody around me’s mindset as well.”
“I asked, ‘Was I going to be traded? Was there anything going on, if it was a chance I’d be traded?’ And on multiple occasions it was, ‘No, it was nothing.’ If it is, then let the agent know.”
DeRozan felt his experience with Ujiri B.S. to him and summed up his trade with these letters.
Haynes: “In that same news conference, he talked about how he gave the team a chance when he took his role. Do you think it was necessary for the organization to make that move and trade you? Why didn’t things work out?”
DeRozan: “I mean, when you say “them,” that’s kind of frustrating. Like, who is “them”? You put the blame on just me and Casey? Because obviously we are the only two who had to suffer from the loss that we had in the Cleveland series. But it’s only one team that we lost to in the postseason -- and that team went to the [NBA] Finals every single year. With an opportunity approaching itself, my mindset and the rest of my teammates’ mindset was the only guy who was in the way of making that happen leaves. Now we got a great opportunity to do something that we haven’t been able to do. At the end of the day, I gave everything I had to that team. And it showed, it showed in the progress we made as a team and me as an individual. So when you put that out there saying “gave them chances” and “I have to do something” ... it’s B.S. to me.”
DeRozan and the Raptors could’ve been a potential threat to beat Golden State, finishing with a record of 59-23 sitting on top of the eastern conference. However, when it came to LeBron James and the Cavs, they got swept for the 2nd time. Ujiri doesn’t see a future with DeRozan anymore dealing him to Spurs for Leonard and Danny Green. The 4x All-Star was bound to be the franchise superstar for the Raptors, but Ujiri had other plans.