Raptors fans heartbroken after DeMar DeRozan traded to Spurs
DeMar DeRozan is out and Kawhi Leonard is in (however reluctantly) after the Toronto Raptors completed a blockbuster multiplayer trade involving both All-Star players, Danny Green, Jakob Poeltl and a protected 2019 first-round draft pick.
Official: We've acquired Kawhi Leonard & Danny Green from the San Antonio Spurs for DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl & a 2019 protected first-round draft pick.— Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) July 18, 2018
More » https://t.co/074JddI7af pic.twitter.com/kESo1ldLdz
Spurs fans may be happy to part ways with Leonard, but Raptors fans are just straight up heartbroken to see DeRozan leave for San Antonio.
y’all... i’m sad now pic.twitter.com/wO7JwvvFsV— 🙂 (@jonatha_tan) July 18, 2018
The 28-year-old Compton, California native is more than Toronto's all-time leading scorer (though he is that, for certain): He's the face of the modern Raptors franchise and a valued member of the community, known for his work with local youth and mental health advocacy.
"During DeRozan's tenure with the team that drafted him in 2009, the perception of the city and the franchise changed dramatically for the better and the All-NBA guard from Compton drove that shift more than any player the club has ever had," wrote Sportsnet analyst Michael Grange.
Two new Players Tribune pieces going up soon.— az (@the_Zubes) July 18, 2018
DeMar DeRozan: Dear Toronto, I love you, thank you for everything I'll never forget you I put the city on my back forever. I promise to always hold you in my heart.
Kawhi Leonard: Dear San Antonio, I used to live there.
"DeRozan wanted to be a Raptor for life and did nearly everything possible to prove that commitment on the floor, where you could always find him given his status as a modern-day NBA ironman," Grange continued.
"He showed up to work. In nine seasons he was never late for a team function."
They're clearing out the DeRozan jerseys in Toronto...— theScore (@theScore) July 18, 2018
(🎥 IG/binkysmalls) pic.twitter.com/lOUC9yzIvZ
Fans are mad, but they're not blaming DeRozan for the move.
In fact, the NBA guard has been inundated with love on Twitter, all day long, from fellow pro athletes such as Blue Jays pitcher Marcus Stroman...
Man. Loved everything about @DeMar_DeRozan’s game and passion for the city. Going to miss showing up to the ACC, watch him go for 40 with the smoothest mid-range game in the league. Wishing you nothing but the best my brother. Respect everything you represent and stand for!— Marcus Stroman (@MStrooo6) July 18, 2018
The same can't be said for Raptors GM Masai Ujiri, who just last month fired head coach Dwane Casey after a franchise-record 59-win season.
Some fans say they're swearing off basketball altogether in light of the news — though can they really call themselves "fans" if they'd rather watch hockey for literally any reason at all?
Others are calling upon the City of Toronto to retire DeRozan's jersey or erect a statue in his honour, which would be pretty cool.
Dear fans of Toronto,— Terrence Ross (@TFlight31) July 18, 2018
It’s time you guys build a statue of @DeMar_DeRozan Regardless of what happens. He deserves it. 🇨🇦
Toronto Twitter is just DeRozan everything right now.
DeRozan's best dunks...
(2013) This Demar Derozan dunk needs to get talked about more.— Timeless Sports (@timelesssports_) July 18, 2018
DeRozan's funniest comedy sketches...
The real reason DeMar DeRozan got traded pic.twitter.com/4ld8MK7l3T— JzoSports (@JzoSports) July 18, 2018
DeRozan's beautiful bromance with best friend and fellow baller Kyle Lowry...
DeRozan even got a shout-out from Drake.
To my brother @demar_derozan I want to say 10 million thank you’s on behalf of YOUR city. You are a fixture in Toronto forever and you gave everything you had. Through your leadership we had the most exciting years in franchise history. I am grateful to have witnessed your combination of skill, persistence, and loyalty from the same seats every night. Thank you for being an incredible captain and an even better friend. To Kawhi...we look forward to a this new chapter and we welcome you to the most intense and supportive city in NBA basketball!!! You have always been a poised clinical warrior and I can’t wait to see how Toronto inspires your fight. Let’s Go Raptors.
10 million thank you's, indeed. We love you DeMar, wherever you are.
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