Look, I get it.
The Raptors had plateaued. When the Cavaliers swept them in the playoffs earlier this year we all knew there were going to be significant changes in the off-season. Many people who know more about basketball than I do also seem to believe that sending our franchise player DeMar DeRozan to San Antonio in exchange for Kawhi Leonard is a win for us. The betting odds also seem to reflect this win.
But, like many people here in Toronto, the first emotion I felt this morning when I heard the news was sadness. Here is a guy who has played his entire professional career in Toronto (9 years) and has openly and continually expressed his loyalty to this city. He wanted to retire a Toronto Raptor. He declared himself to be Toronto.
Of course in the end this is a business. And the primary goal of this business to win championships. If you don’t think you’re in a position to win championships – or lose to the Golden State Warriors in the finals, which is probably the most that teams can hope for right now – then it behooves you to make the necessary changes, however painful they may be.
I have no idea how this all went down, but the Instagram story that DeRozan posted this morning makes it abundantly clear that he feels betrayed. He feels he was told one thing, and that one thing isn’t what ended up happening. That’s the truly sad part for me. But I’m not going to speculate. Instead, I would like to thank DeMar DeRozan for his dedication and loyalty to this city. He was one of Toronto’s finest city builders.