In the 2018 NBA offseason, the Toronto Raptors made one of the made biggest headlines when they engaged in a blockbuster deal with the San Antonio Spurs involving DeMar DeRozan and Kawhi Leonard. The move earned plenty of criticism from most of the Raptors’ fans, who thought that the team traded their most loyal player for a possible one-year rental. As of now, the Raptors continue to prove that they made the right decision to trade DeRozan for Leonard.
After beating every team they faced in the Eastern Conference Playoffs, the Raptors didn’t just make their first appearance in the NBA Finals, but they are also now two wins away from bringing home the Larry O’Brien Trophy to Toronto. With their recent success, some people can’t help themselves but say that the Raptors won’t be contending for the NBA championship title if they didn’t send DeRozan to the Spurs in exchange for Leonard. Those beliefs have managed to reach DeRozan, who recently shared his reaction in the recent episode of Bleacher Report‘s Take It There with Taylor Rooks.
DeMar DeRozan confidently said the Raptors won’t be reaching where they are right now if it wasn’t for him, former coach Dwane Casey, and all the players and staff members who were with the franchise since they returned to the Eastern Conference Playoffs in 2014. DeRozan admitted that he’s very disappointed with the trade, saying that the Raptors rewarded his loyalty and contributions by using him as the “sacrificial lamb.”
“If it wasn’t for all the years and groundwork that I did before then, none of these things would’ve been possible,” DeRozan said, as transcribed by The Score. “I fought. I sacrificed. I pushed the limits to where I had to be the sacrificial lamb. You just have to sit back and understand you are the reason so many things were even possible. To their credit, they probably felt like it was time to see what we could get to make that next jump.”
“He knows no matter what, no matter what we’re doing now, the legacy of DeMar DeRozan with the Toronto Raptors is never going to change." DeMar was right: He had to be the sacrificial lamb for the Raptors to be here. https://t.co/guH5sAhOq3
— Bruce Arthur (@bruce_arthur) June 4, 2019
It’s easy to understand why DeMar DeRozan felt that way, but he must understand that the NBA is a business. If given the opportunity to improve their roster, most NBA teams will surely do the same thing the Raptors did last summer. Despite what happened last summer, DeRozan said that he is still rooting for his best friend Kyle Lowry and the Raptors to win the NBA Finals 2019 against the reigning NBA champions, Golden State Warriors.
“People gotta understand my best friend is Kyle. So, I’m rooting for my best friend to do well.”
After a 123-109 victory on Wednesday night, the Raptors are now holding a 2-1 lead in their best-of-seven series against the Warriors. Game 4 of the NBA Finals between the Raptors and the Warriors will be on Friday night at the Oracle Arena.