The four-time NBA all-star posted a message of gratitude on his Instagram page Saturday thanking Canada and the city of Toronto for supporting him over the first nine years of his NBA career.
The message was posted along with a black and white photo of DeRozan signing one of his No. 10 Raptors jerseys—a jersey that may even find itself hanging from the Scotiabank Arena rafters at some point in the future.
DeRozan was selected ninth overall by the Raptors in the 2009 NBA Draft and went on to become the team’s all-time leading scorer and franchise leader in games and minutes played.
The 28-year-old was sent to the Spurs, along with Jakob Poeltl and a protected 2019 first-round pick, in exchange for Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green.
DeRozan had never been shy about expressing his love for Toronto and its fans, having represented the franchise as well or better than any player to come before him, so his departure from the city was a tough pill to swallow for both the player and fan base he is leaving.
The above post was a change in tone from a couple cryptic Instagram stories DeRozan posted earlier in the week prior to the trade being finalized.
DeRozan suggested he was lied to by the Raptors organization. The Compton, Calif., native reportedly said he was assured during a face-to-face meeting with Raptors president Masai Ujiri that he would not be dealt.
Ujiri addressed this issue at a press conference in Toronto on Friday.
“I had a conversation with DeMar at Summer League,” Ujiri told reporters. “We spoke and I spoke to him. I think maybe my mistake was talking about what we expected going forward from him. Not necessarily talking about a trade but what I expect from him going forward and I think that’s where the gap was because, in my job, I always have to assume that I’m going forward with the team that I have.
“If there was a miscommunication there, I do apologize to DeMar and his family and his representation. It’s not what I meant.”
Ujiri went on to explain that at the time he spoke to DeRozan the Raptors were considered longshots to land Leonard—a player who when healthy is considered a consensus top-five NBA talent.
“These things come and go, opportunities come and go and we have to react, in my position, and I had to react at this time,” Ujiri added.
DeRozan has yet to officially introduce himself to his new team and fan base, but clearly the Spurs are excited to have him.