After being traded to the San Antonio Spurs, All-Star DeMar DeRozan went to Instagram on Saturday to thank his fans. Posting a photo of himself signing a jersey of his own number 10, DeRozan thanked Toronto Raptors fans.
“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.”
The Wednesday trade ended DeRozan’s nine-year career in Toronto. The trade of DeRozan, Jakob Peoltl, and a draft pick to San Antonio in exchange for Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green did not sit well with Toronto’s world-wide fan base or DeRozan, initially.
Posting an Instagram story on Wednesday about the lack of loyalty in the game, DeRozan was unhappy with the trade. According to ESPN‘s Adrian Wojnarowski, His story read “Ain’t no loyalty in this game. Sell you out for a quick but of nothing…Soon you’ll understand…Don’t disturb.”
The Raptors took DeRozan with the ninth pick in the 2009 Draft. After the draft, DeRozan led the team in points and minutes played. As the franchise grew, DeRozan did as well. An All-Star in four of the five past seasons, sources say the shooting guard is one of the biggest reasons the Raptors made five consecutive playoff appearances.
Instead of choosing to enter free agency, twice, the 28-year old chose to re-sign with Toronto before meeting with any other teams, always choosing his fans and loyalty, according to the NBA.
Sources close to the Olympic gold medalist said he is still angry with Raptors president Masai Ujiri after understanding initially he would not be dealt. Ujiri apologized on Friday for the way DeRozan’s departure was handled and vowed to respect him, according to ESPN.
“DeMar is the greatest player that’s played for Toronto, at least for what he’s done here.” Urjiri said. “I guarantee you he will be respected for that and will be acknowledged for that in the biggest way we can possibly do as long as I’m here.”
Recognizing the incredible difference between managers and fans, DeRozan wanted to show his fans how grateful he was. As he wrote on Instagram that he was grateful for Toronto’s fans’ love and passion for the past nine years.
“All I ever wanted to do was duplicate it 10x over just to show my appreciation. Thank you Toronto, thank you Canada.”