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Frustrated DeMar DeRozan: ‘I gave everything I had to that team’

DeMar DeRozan

Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan reacts during second half of the team’s 132-125 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder in an NBA basketball game in Toronto on Sunday, March 18, 2018. (Chris Young/The Canadian Press via AP)


DeMar DeRozan is still pissed off.

DeRozan felt blindsided and betrayed by the trade that sent him to San Antonio and Kawhi Leonard to Toronto (a trade that became official Tuesday when Leonard passed his physical with the Raptors). He expressed anger about the trade from the start, feeling he had been loyal to Toronto like no other star player had been, feeling that he had been told by management he would not be traded, only to have the deal go through days later. Other NBA players backed him.

Did we mention DeRozan is still pissed about how things went down, as he told Chris Haynes of ESPN on SportsCenter?

“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...

“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...

“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.”

What bothered DeRozan less was the trade than feeling he was told nothing was going to happen, only to find out soon after he had been the focus of trade talks all along. Raptors GM Masai Ujiri has apologized for the failed communication on his end.

DeRozan is within his rights to feel betrayed, but sadly that’s the business. It’s cold. He knows that, but the sting is understandably still there.

DeRozan will be with his new coach Gregg Popovich later this week in Las Vegas for the USA Basketball minicamp, something that likely will be a step toward him fully moving on to his next chapter. DeRozan landed in a good spot, with a coach that will put him in positions he feels comfortable. DeRozan is going to like being a Spur.

He’s still just getting over the sting of the trade.