The Toronto Raptors traded away DeMar DeRozan to the San Antonio Spurs for Kawhi Leonard. That was a major upgrade but unfair to DeRozan. He was told he wasn't going to be traded and that is exactly what happened. Were the Raptors in the wrong or was it just business?
One of the reasons why DeRozan was the one traded away was because he had the most value. The Spurs wanted him and the Raptors didn't have any other player to offer than would come close to the value of Leonard. If the Raptors wanted to make the trade, DeRozan had to be the one traded.
Trading DeRozan to get Leonard was the right move because it made the Raptors much better. However, they allegedly told Derozan that they weren't going to trade him. That is why he is angry about being shipped to San Antonio. He thought he wasn't going anywhere and was reassured he wouldn't be.
Raptors' general manager Masai Ujiri blames says it was all an misunderstanding.
“I want to not only apologize to DeMar DeRozan for maybe a gap of miscommunication, but also to acknowledge him and what he's done here with the Raptors, for this city, for this country,“ said Ujiri. “There's no measure to what this kid has done.”
When a player calls out a team and they end up apologizing, it isn't a good look. The Raptors were being publicly criticized for trading DeRozan. He has been very loyal to the team yet that meant nothing to the Raptors who traded him away for a better player. Also, calling him a kid isn't helpful.
Backtracking on what you said is only going to make you look worse and that is what happened. Ujiri wants to make the Raptors look like a team that is loyal but he didn't do a good job.
“I think maybe my mistake was talking about what we expected going forward (from) DeMar, not necessarily about a trade,” Ujiri said.
His excuse was that he wasn't clear that he didn't mean that DeRozan would be traded, just what they expect from him. That is adding insult to injury. Everyone can assume that in a situation like that, the Rators would want to reassure DeRozan that he was part of the long-term plan.
It is hard to see the Raptors as anything but callous. They went back on their word and are feeling bad because of the criticism being heaved at them. DeRozan was mistreated and they Raptors need to own up to it. He has been on the team since he was drafted in 2009 and would have liked to retire a Raptor but the feeling wasn't mutual.