DeMar DeRozan says goodbye to Toronto and Raptors franchise
NBA.com Global on Jul 22, 2018 08:06 AM
FILE - LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 18: DeMar DeRozan #10 of the Toronto Raptors of Team Stephen goes to the basket against Team LeBron during the NBA All-Star Game as a part of 2018 NBA All-Star Weekend at STAPLES Center on February 18, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
NBA.com staff report
DeMar DeRozan, who was traded from the only team he has ever known on Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time), posted a thank note on Instagram to fans in Canada.
Words could never express what you’ve meant to me. I was just a 19 year old kid from Compton when we first met, but you took me in and embraced me as one of your own. I am so grateful for the Love and Passion that you’ve given me over the past 9 years. All I ever wanted to do was duplicate it 10x over just to show my appreciation. Thank you Toronto, thank you Canada. #Comp10 #ProveEm
DeRozan is attempting to move on from a trade that sent him from the the Toronto Raptors to the San Antonio Spurs in exchange for Kawhi Leonard. As word of the trade circulated the NBA social media atmosphere on Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time), DeRozan took to Instagram and posted a story there that read: "Be told one thing & the outcome another. Ain't no loyalty in this game. Sell you out for a quick bit of nothing ... Soon you'll understand ... Don't disturb."
Shortly after Raptors president Masai Ujiri apologized Friday, DeRozan added a new post to his Instagram feed: a facepalm emoji, a symbol of frustration and exasperation.
The Raptors took DeRozan with the ninth pick in the 2009 Draft, during which time DeRozan became the franchise’s leader in several categories, including games, points and minutes played.
He grew as the franchise did, helping lead it to the most successful period in its history alongside his close friend and All-Star teammate, Kyle Lowry. The backcourt did ads together, took vacations together with family and led Toronto to franchise records for wins, reaching the Eastern Conference finals in 2016. At every turn, DeRozan expressed happiness at playing for and living in Toronto, even as he had to make several cross-country trips last season to be with his ailing father in Los Angeles.
DeRozan remade his game as part of the “culture reset” demanded by general manager Masai Ujiri after Toronto was beaten in the playoffs by LeBron James and the Cavaliers in 2017 -- a familiar outcome, as James and Cleveland beat the Raptors in three straight postseasons. DeRozan relied less on isolation sets than he had in years past, trying to move more without the ball and give it up so others could be more involved.
Meanwhile the initially positive vibes between Leonard and the Raptors were tweeted out on the Raptors' social media account Friday evening after Leonard arrived in Toronto. The post included a photo of Leonard with Ujiri and general manager Bobby Webster.