“It was the last thing I expected.” DeMar DeRozan at least didn’t find out from Woj, but when he heard Toronto was trading him to San Antonio, DeRozan couldn’t believe it. He said getting traded is a part of the business, and he understands that, but according to DeMar, just 48 hours before that call Masai Ujiri and DeRozan had a conversation that DeRozan left confident he’s not getting traded.
“I got the call before it came out. I knew the night before. I talked to…the man [Ujiri]. He told me, and I just hung up the phone.”DeMar DeRozan, Club Shay Shay
They haven’t spoken since. DeMar remembers everything about that night. He was in the movies, watching Equilizer 2. On the drive home, the phone rang, and he got the bad news. DeRozan just asked the friend who was driving to pull over and started walking. “I think I sat in front of a Dell Taco for 40 minutes.” The news caught everyone by surprise. We knew Kawhi was getting traded, but no one talked about Toronto.
That’s at least the one thing that helped DeRozan deal with the pain and sense of betrayal. He didn’t get traded in a salary dump. He was the centerpiece of a trade that brought one of the best players in the NBA to Toronto, a guy who led the Raptors to the Championship. Still, it took a long time for DeMar to move past the negative.
“It took a while. It took about, until 10 months ago. Probably after the [Orlando] Bubble, I was kinda’ like ‘Damn it‘.”DeMar DeRozan, Club Shay Shay
During the interview, you could see the scar will always be there. The entire time talking about the trade, DeRozan couldn’t bring himself to say Masai Ujiri’s name. It was all “the man” and other terms. There’ll always be a sense of betrayal because DeRozan felt he was given assurances he won’t get traded.
As a free agent, DeRozan said he made more than enough money in his career and that a title is the only thing missing. Many started to speculate he may try to join up with Kyle Lowey in LA with the Lakers. That would be a Holywood ending for one of the best friendships in the NBA. But as we know, life is not a movie. The Lakers cap situation makes such a scenario extremely unlikely.
Wherever he lands, we hope DeMar gets what he wants. It may not be a title, but this time it will be on his terms.