We don’t need to belabour this point now, but it remains news when DeMar DeRozan decides to talk about the Raptors. And if he sits down late on Tuesday for a 1-on-1 interview with Chris Haynes on ESPN’s SportsCenter, well then, we’ve got to report on it.
First, you can watch the entire segment here. It’s Haynes (again!) and DeRozan, one on one.
(This post has been updated with the full video.)
As expected, DeRozan reiterates that he felt disrespected by how the Kawhi Leonard trade with the Spurs went down, saying that if he had just been told, or given some sign in advance, he could have prepared himself better. “I felt like I wasn’t treated — with what I sacrificed for nine years — with the respect that I felt I deserved. By just giving me the say-so of letting me know something’s going on, or that there’s a chance.” I admit, not an unreasonable request given DeRozan’s stature in Toronto.
It’s hard not to feel bad for DeRozan here — even as he lightens up later in the clip when talking about his call to Rudy Gay, also forever linked to Toronto, teammates once again and long-time friends. The way DeMar puts it, it sounds like the Raptors were doing their usual prep work in the summer in Las Vegas, and including him in those discussions as is their wont. It’s easy to see how the trade could completely blindside DeRozan, which gets us back to those hurt feelings and the disrespect and everything else.
That said, I’m not exactly ready to say DeRozan “sacrificed” for the Raptors. While I don’t know what strain being an NBA player in Toronto may have put on DeMar’s personal life, the team did just spend the last five years (plus four before that) doing everything possible to build around him and his game. Of course, all credit should go to DeMar for working hard, exceeding all sorts of expectations, building himself into a high calibre NBA player, and earning tons of money in the process. It’s clear though, the relationship between player and team was mutually beneficial.
Still, that doesn’t mean we can’t acknowledge the hurt feelings too; and consider those same expectations, realizing DeRozan could not exceed them enough for Toronto. If I was DeMar, that kind of talk would sting like hell — sadly, it doesn’t mean it’s not true.