Masai Ujiri made a tough decision over the summer when he traded one of the most accomplished players in Raptors franchise history, DeMar DeRozan, to the Spurs in exchange for a potential MVP candidate in Kawhi Leonard. From a basketball perspective, the trade did exactly what was necessary. Ujiri took a team that was constantly spinning its wheels in early playoff exits and made it a potential contender by adding Leonard to the mix.
However, the DeRozan trade didn’t sit well with everybody. He gave everything to the Raptors and by trading him it felt like a betrayal of loyalty. Everybody knows loyalty doesn’t ever truly exist in sports, but it still hurts at the end of the day when a forced breakup occurs. Ujiri recently spoke about his decision to trade DeRozan on ESPN’s The Jump and you can tell it bothered him on a personal level, but he had to make the move that was best for the team.
“We thought, ‘We have to change. We have to be better,'” Ujiri said, referring to the Raptors’ perennial ouster from the playoffs. “We have to be better; we have to win. The game is all about winning and treating people the right way. And honestly … god bless DeMar. What I did wrong was trade him. Yes, that’s what I did wrong if it’s wrong. You know, like, we traded players, but nothing else I did; there’s nothing else.”