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San Antonio Spurs: DeMar DeRozan says trade caught him off-guard

By Rob Wolkenbrod
TORONTO, CANADA - JULY 14: DeMar DeRozan #10 and Masai Ujiri of the Toronto Raptors pose for a photo during a press conference after announcing his new deal on July 14, 2016 at the Real Sports Bar & Grill in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2016 NBAE (Photo by Ron Turenne/NBAE via Getty Images)
TORONTO, CANADA - JULY 14: DeMar DeRozan #10 and Masai Ujiri of the Toronto Raptors pose for a photo during a press conference after announcing his new deal on July 14, 2016 at the Real Sports Bar & Grill in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2016 NBAE (Photo by Ron Turenne/NBAE via Getty Images)
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Almost one week after the trade with the San Antonio Spurs, DeMar DeRozan spoke with ESPN’s Chris Haynes.

Since the San Antonio Spurs acquired DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl and a 2019 first-round pick for Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green, much has been made on DeRozan’s issues with the Toronto Raptors; notably the “miscommunication” between he and Raptors President of Basketball Operations Masai Ujiri.

Six days after the trade occurred, DeRozan sat down with ESPN’s Chris Haynes to discuss the Toronto departure, as well as the issues with Ujiri.

DeRozan explained how he was “caught off-guard” by the trade from Ujiri, someone he had been close with, with the words “family” and “brother” thrown around. It seemed the USC product took personally, so the trade caught him “off-guard.”

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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.

As for Ujiri’s treatment of him, DeRozan did not feel he received the respect of a player that stood in Toronto for nine years. He wanted clarity, to know a trade was possible, instead of finding out in the fashion it transpired in.

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.

Then, there’s the conversation that started this all, as DeRozan was told “No, it was nothing,” on the possibility of a trade at the 2018 NBA Summer League. Of course, that took a different direction days later.

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.

Now that everything in on the table, DeRozan can move towards Team USA Basketball’s minicamp, as well as the start of his run with the Spurs; that won’t start until September, when the team reports for training camp, but it’s an opportunity to learn everything and work with new teammates. Do not expect an interaction with Kawhi Leonard, either, as he will not be there.

Toronto forward Kawhi Leonard will not attend USA Basketball minicamp in Las Vegas this week, league sources tell ESPN. He will use time to prepare for transition to new team.

— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) July 25, 2018

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In nine seasons with the Raptors, DeRozan averaged 19.7 points, 4.1 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game. The 2017-18 season saw him reach a career-high 5.2 assists per game, and as well as 27.3 points per game achieved in 2016-17.

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