Outside of some cryptic – and not-so-cryptic – social media posts, DeMar DeRozan had been relatively quiet over the last week since word broke that he’d be traded from the Raptors to the Spurs. However, various reports, along with those social media posts, suggested that DeRozan wasn’t thrilled with the deal, which caught him by surprise.
ESPN’s Chris Haynes caught up with the longtime Toronto star to discuss the deal and to address the perception that DeRozan had been told he wouldn’t be traded. The conversation is a good one, and is worth checking out in full for a number of interesting stories and comments from DeRozan, who talked about his place in Raptors history, his expectations for playing under Gregg Popovich, and how friends like Kyle Lowry and Drake reacted to the deal.
Here are a few of the other highlights from DeRozan’s conversation with Haynes:
On Raptors president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri saying of the previous iteration of the Raptors, “We kept giving them a chance and giving them a chance. At some point, we have to do something different”:
“I mean, when you say ‘them,’ that’s kind of frustrating. Like, who is ‘them’? You put the blame on just me and (Dwane) 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 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 (LeBron James) 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.”
On how he felt he was treated by Ujiri and the organization:
“I felt like I wasn’t treated with what I sacrificed for nine years, with the respect that I thought I deserved. By just giving me the say so of letting me know something’s going on or it’s a chance. That’s all I wanted. That’s all I wanted. I’m not saying, ‘You don’t have to trade me’ or … just let me know something is going on because I sacrificed everything. Just let me know. That’s all I asked. Everybody know I’m the most low-maintenance person in the world. Just let me know, so I can prepare myself for whatever my next chapter is, and I didn’t get that.”
On whether DeRozan had asked the team if he’d be traded:
“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 or me know.”
On talking to Spurs forward Rudy Gay shortly after finding out about the trade:
“I was upset. And I called him, like, ‘Man, dude’s just traded me.’ Rudy was like ‘What? To who?’ And I was like ‘To y’all.’ He started laughing. He said ‘Look, I don’t mean to lie, but I got my boy back. You gon’ be aight, man. don’t worry about it.’ I was like, ‘Man, I shouldn’t have called you. I should have waited until it came out and you called me.’ It was cool to be able to call somebody that’s close in my life that’s on the Spurs too. So he made it easy.”