In the aftermath of a deal that sent Kawhi Leonard to the Toronto Raptors, new Spurs star DeMar DeRozan received all kinds of uplifting messages from players (and other personnel) across the NBA. Much of the outrage following the trade stemmed from DeRozan’s assertion that the Raptors met with him during the Las Vegas Summer League and essentially indicated that he wouldn’t be traded, causing quite the reaction from DeRozan on social media when the trade was complete.
The situation even prompted Raptors president Masai Ujiri to apologize to DeRozan during a post-trade press conference but, on Tuesday, DeRozan sat down with ESPN’s Chris Haynes for a wide-ranging interview to discuss his current mindset and, especially, his reaction after the deal went down last week. As part of that discussion, DeRozan was prompted on his prior relationship with Ujiri and how that affected the way he felt about the deal.
“No question. 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. 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.”
It is easy to see why DeRozan would be bothered, particularly if he didn’t see the trade coming in any way.