Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan has blasted his former NBA franchise for disloyalty after being controversially traded to San Antonio in exchange for Kawhi Leonard.
DeRozan was the first player informed of the blockbuster trade that sees him swap places with the disgruntled Spurs forward.
However, the four-time All-Star was far from happy with how the saga played out, having committed his future to the Raptors.
“Told one thing and the outcome another,” DeRozan wrote on Instagram, suggesting the Raptors informed him he would not be included in a rumoured deal for Leonard.
“Can’t trust ’em. Ain’t no loyalty in this game. Sell you out quick for a little bit of nothing.”
“Soon you’ll understand,” he added, before signing off for the night: “Don’t disturb.”
DeMar DeRozan’s Instagram story right now … 😳 pic.twitter.com/NTzUcWWtc1
— Yahoo Sports NBA (@YahooSportsNBA) July 18, 2018
DeRozan signed a five-year, $139 million max contract to stay with the team that drafted him ninth overall in 2009, committing to a Raptors core that was coming off the franchise’s first Eastern Conference finals appearance in 2016.
His friendship with All-Star backcourt partner Kyle Lowry has been the foundation of unprecedented success in Toronto.
The 28-year-old DeRozan is a lethal scorer at the rim and from mid-range who finished eighth in the NBA’s MVP balloting this past season.
The debate over the absence of loyalty in the NBA has gained steam in recent years and many players as well as fans took to social media in anger at this latest move.
I’m hurt bro. I’m hurt. My dog gave that city and organization his heart and soul. He was loyal to the soil and got stabbed in the back.
— Lou Williams (@TeamLou23) July 18, 2018
Just learn from my story! Loyalty is just a word in this game SMH
— Isaiah Thomas (@isaiahthomas) July 18, 2018
A rare loyal star player that was betrayed by his organization
— Jameson Golding (@Jcougar23) July 18, 2018
First it was Isiah Thomas and now DeMar DeRozan. How can fans expect players to be loyal when the teams they root for aren’t even loyal to their players?
— I Never Freeze (@sup3rkal0n716) July 18, 2018
loyalty to companies does not end well. the nba is a company. the teams that make it are companies. demar learned that today and i feel bad for him.
— kayla page (@itsKaylaPage) July 18, 2018
This dude could’ve ditched for LA, stayed, and they traded him. I’d be pissed too. I’m pissed and I’m not even a raptors fan
— A.J. Leshock (@ajleshock) July 18, 2018
Fans and teams will point to Kevin Durant’s decision to leave the Oklahoma City Thunder to sign with the Golden State Warriors team that eliminated them in the seven-game 2016 Western Conference finals.
Players will point to Isaiah Thomas, who played through a hip injury and his sister’s death to lead the Boston Celtics to the 2017 East finals, only to be traded for Kyrie Irving to the team that eliminated them.
DeRozan wasn’t breaking news by calling out the business side of the NBA, although he might have helped break news of the actual trade.
But the deal stings no less for DeRozan, who was genuinely invested in the Raptors’ success and has spent much of his adult life raising a family in Toronto.
On the flip side, the Raptors did not sell him out for “a little bit of nothing.”
Leonard is a top-three talent when healthy, challenged only by Durant and LeBron James, and that kind of player can elevate a franchise from Eastern Conference also-ran to Finals contender overnight.
Still, that’s not the argument you want to hear when your GM wakes you up at 4am telling you to pack your bags.
Things could get awkward if both DeRozan and Leonard accept their USA Basketball camp invites and show up next week in Las Vegas, where Spurs coach Gregg Popovich will be calling the shots.
With Yahoo US