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Per The Athletic’s Eric Koreen, Ujiri cited a potential miscommunication with DeRozan as the reason for how things happened:
“I want to not only apologize to DeMar DeRozan for maybe a gap of miscommunication, but also to acknowledge him and what he’s done here with the Raptors, for this city, for this country. There’s no measure to what this kid has done.”
The Raptors shipped DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl and a 2019 first-round pick to the Spurs for Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green on Wednesday.
After the deal was finalized, ESPN’s Chris Haynes reported DeRozan met with Raptors officials in Las Vegas during Las Vegas Summer League and came away with the belief he wouldn’t be traded.
Per Josh Lewenberg of TSN 1050, Ujiri noted at the time of the Vegas conversation with DeRozan, the Raptors were fourth in line to acquire Leonard and said no deal was imminent.
“I think maybe my mistake was talking about what we expected going forward (from) DeMar, not necessarily about a trade,” Ujiri told reporters.
In an Instagram post, DeRozan wrote that he was “told one thing & the outcome another,” and there “ain’t no loyalty in this game.”
Per Tim Bontemps of the Washington Post, Ujiri called DeRozan “the greatest player to play for the Raptors to this point” and he will “do anything in his power” to properly honor him.
DeRozan has spent his entire career with the Raptors since being drafted ninth overall in 2009. The 28-year-old made the All-Star team four times in the past five seasons and helped Toronto win a franchise-record 59 games in 2017-18.