Losing a franchise player can certainly shake a city to its very core.
Toronto is still mourning the loss of its all-star player DeMar DeRozan, if not the player, then the person.
No one, not even DeRozan himself, saw it coming when he was traded to the San Antonio Spurs this past summer. He was dealt in July with Jakob Poeltl and a 2019 protected first-round draft pick for Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green.
Leonard and Green proved to be powerful additions to the Raptors, but the way the team traded DeRozan was like a knife to the heart.
DeRozan spent nine seasons with the Raptors, including five playoff runs.
It’s no secret this city highly adored and respected DeRozan for his dedication both on and off the court, from doing commercials for Gatorade, to running after school summer camps and programs within the community.
Toronto changed DeRozan, and DeRozan changed Toronto.
Since being drafted by the Raptors back in 2009, the baller improved his game immensely. He led the team in both scoring and games played, and carried the team to their first Eastern Conference Finals.
DeRozan is responsible for placing the Raptors on the map, after sparking the We the North movement with former teammate Kyle Lowry.
The thing that made the trade worse was that DeRozan wasn’t even informed.
DeRozan said he was promised that he wasn’t going anywhere after he made it clear that he didn’t want to be traded.
A few days later, Derozan — along with the rest of us — received the devastating news that he would be leaving Toronto.
At the end of the day, I understand that the NBA is just a business and every team has one goal, win the championship.
However, one would think that any team would want to lock down their star player and build around that player.
But, this unfortunately wasn’t the case with the Raptors.
The fact DeRozan got traded behind his back, after everything he’s done and been through for the Raptors, goes to show that loyalty is a lost word in the NBA in this day in age.