Toronto will get Leonard and guard Danny Green and will send DeRozan, along with centre Jakob Poeltl and a protected 2019 draft pick to San Antonio.
The reaction to the transaction was mixed to say the least.
In a story posted to his Instagram account Wednesday morning, DeRozan, who was reportedly told earlier in the summer he would not be traded, wrote, “Be told one thing & the outcome another. 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… Don’t disturb…”
NBA players like Damian Lillard and Lou Williams and former player Charlie Villanueva tweeted about “loyalty” and how the league is a “cold business.”
While former Raptors teammates DeMarre Carroll and Terrence Ross tweeted Toronto should make a statue of the fan-favourite.
Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Marcus Stroman said he was going to miss watching him play at the Scotiabank Arena, formerly known as the Air Canada Centre. Nashville Predators star P.K. Subban, who knows a thing or two about being traded after his controversial trade from the Montreal Canadiens in 2016, thanked DeRozan for everything he’s done and also welcomed Leonard to the six.
Mayor John Tory spoke about DeRozan, who led the Raptors in scoring in each of the last five seasons, at a press conference on Wednesday.
“You hate to see talented players like that go but you also understand that when coaches and management have the job to do, of trying to either tweak or rebuild a team, to make sure it can be a better competitor next year, or when players have a decision to make about their own careers, you’re going to lose people that you love,” he said, adding he was still “optimistic” the Raptors will come out “better than ever” in the fall.
Councillor Norm Kelly thanked DeRozan in a series of tweets.
Leonard, who was drafted by the Spurs in 2011, reportedly made it clear to San Antonio in June that he wanted to be traded. Leonard has one year left on his contract and it is long believed that he wants to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers when he becomes a free agent in 2019.
DeRozan, meanwhile, has three years and $83 million left on his contract, which includes an early-termination option for the 2020-21 season.
Fans of the shooting guard from Compton, Calif., who professed “I am Toronto” when he signed his last contract in 2016, took to social media to voice their opinions and thank the most successful player in Raptors franchise history.
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