Sports

Raptors president apologizes to DeMar DeRozan

Raptors president apologizes to DeMar DeRozan

DeRozan, who had spent all 9 of his National Basketball Association seasons with the Raptors, reacted angrily to the trade on Wednesday with an Instagram post saying "Told one thing and the outcome another. He's not going to leave, I'm telling you'".

Ujiri added Friday: "In my job, I always have to assume we're going forward with the team that I have".

"You can't do this same thing over and over again", Ujiri said.

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. "When you have a chance to get a top 5 player, we have to jump on it".

DeRozan has led the Raptors in scoring the last five seasons and has been a favourite among fans and teammates during his nine-year run with the team.

"There's no measurement for what DeMar DeRozan has done for this organization", Ujiri said, pledging that the departed guard will be acknowledged "in the biggest way that we can possibly do it" for his nine seasons with the Raptors.

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Leonard finished that 2015-16 campaign averaging 21.2 points, 6.8 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.8 steals and a block over 72 games.

"I think there's a lot to sell here", Ujiri said.

The Toronto Raptors have done it, they traded for Kawhi Leonard, perhaps one of the best five players in the National Basketball Association - but now the impending noise to come will be deafening. "We have everything here except the championship in my opinion".

With Leonard likely departing the Raptors after the 2018-19 season, there is one team that would fit Leonard perfectly; the Brooklyn Nets.

It has been an emotional week for the 28-year-old and Raptors fans as the cost to acquire Kawhi Leonard means parting with a franchise player who clearly had an emotional connection with the fanbase and the city. Ujiri said the player "didn't express a lack of interest to play in Canada to me".


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