Posts Tagged ‘San Antonio Spurs’

Rudy Gay is sticking up for the San Antonio Spurs in the fallout from the Kawhi LeonardDeMar DeRozan trade.

Gay, who reached out to his former Raptors teammate following the trade, vouched for how the Spurs do business on the Hartford Courant’s UConn Insider podcast, arguing it’s what separates the organization from other teams around the league.

“The best part about San Antonio, they do right by you,” Gay said. “They do right by their players, do right by their staff. That doesn’t happen much in the NBA, to be honest with you.”

DeRozan, for his part, has made it clear he no longer has any kind of relationship with Raptors president Masai Ujiri after an apparent “gap of miscommunication” between the two parties.

Gay, who re-signed with the Spurs this offseason on a one-year, $10-million deal, believes that kind of incident won’t happen to DeRozan in San Antonio, advocating for how straight up the Spurs’ front office is.

“On one side, there was [Leonard] that was trying to get out, get to a bigger market, and they were totally being upfront with him, and then they trade him for a guy [DeRozan] where that organization wasn’t being upfront with him at all,” Gay said. “So, I mean, it’s just night and day. That trade right there shows you the difference between the San Antonio Spurs and other organizations.”

The 31-year-old went through a similar situation when he was dealt from the Memphis Grizzlies to the Raptors after six-plus years with the franchise, having established ties in the city.

“When you’re in the NBA, it’s different,” Gay said. “You have certain players that you just know are going to make their own decisions. But for everybody else, you’re part of the league. We leave foundations. We build houses, have our kids in school. It’s tough to go on and just uproot to another city. For DeMar, it’s another country, so I kind of feel for him. I’ve been in that situation. It’s not easy.”

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Washington Wizards point guard John Wall understands most NBA players are never truly safe and can be traded anytime. But he also believes there’s a right way to go about moving a player, especially one as committed to his organization as DeMar DeRozan recently was north of the border.

The Toronto Raptors, in Wall’s opinion, handled moving their franchise superstar to the San Antonio Spurs extremely poorly.

“It was interesting. In my opinion, I don’t think there was loyalty shown on DeRozan’s part,” said Wall, according to Chase Hughes of NBC Sports. “This is a business and you understand that. [But], if you talk to me man-to-man, then just be honest with me. We’re all grown men.”

DeRozan complimented Toronto and its fans on his way out as part of a package that brought the Raptors two-time Defensive Player of the Year Kawhi Leonard. The four-time All-Star doesn’t think highly of Masai Ujiri, though, saying the Raptors team president wasn’t honest with him about whether he was being made available in trade discussions.

Wall and DeRozan have met as opponents in the postseason on two occasions. They also have an off-court relationship and are close friends.

If Isaiah Thomas could turn back the hands of time, he wouldn’t have pushed himself and his ailing hip during the Boston Celtics‘ 2016-17 postseason run and ultimately cost himself a massive payday this summer.

Watching the Kawhi Leonard saga unfold in San Antonio last season, Thomas sees no issue in the All-Star forward choosing not to rush back from his quadriceps tendinopathy and risk further damage.

“Kawhi Leonard, what he did is the right thing to do,” Thomas said Thursday during an appearance on CBS Sports Radio. “He learned from my story. Everybody can hate or do whatever they say about Kawhi Leonard, but at the end of the day, he’s looking after himself.

“These teams, all they’re going to do is look out for themselves. When a player does it, everybody’s tripping out. It is what it is. At the same time, I’m still blessed to be in the situation I’m in. I’m blessed to be in the NBA. Once I do get that opportunity again, they won’t be able to deny it after that.”

With the untimely death of his sister weighing heavily on his mind, Thomas viewed basketball as therapeutic, even though his decision to continue playing, in all probability, aggravated his injured hip.

Despite advancing all the way to the Eastern Conference finals, the Celtics ultimately elected to ship Thomas off to the Cleveland Cavaliers, where he struggled to fit in during his 15-game run. His poor play, paired with season-ending hip surgery in late March after being moved again to the Los Angeles Lakers, diminished Thomas’ value tremendously.

He’s now a member of the Denver Nuggets on a one-year contract for the veteran’s minimum, while the Spurs cut ties with Leonard – who made just nine appearances in 2017-18 – by trading him north of the border to the Toronto Raptors.

 

All DeMar DeRozan wanted from the Toronto Raptors – the organization he had spent all nine years of his career busting his tail for – was fair warning that there was a possibility he would be dealt.

The four-time All-Star feels he wasn’t extended that courtesy ahead of being shipped to the San Antonio Spurs as part of a package for Kawhi Leonard. As a result, DeRozan finds himself “still in shock” that it even happened.

“I felt like I wasn’t treated – with what I sacrificed for my years, you know – with the respect that I thought I deserved,” DeRozan told ESPN’s Chris Haynes on SportsCenter Tuesday night when asked how he felt he was traded by team president Masai Ujiri. “By just giving me the say-so of letting me know something’s going on, or that there’s a chance. That’s all I wanted.

“I’m not saying you don’t have to trade me. Just let me know something’s going on, because I sacrificed everything. Just let me know, you know what I mean? That’s all I ask. Everybody know I’m the most low-maintenance person in the world. Just let me know, so that I can prepare myself for whatever my next chapter is, and I didn’t get that.”

During a recent news conference, Ujiri apologized to DeRozan and his family for a “gap of miscommunication” on his part. The 28-year-old responded with a facepalm emoji on his Instagram account.

One line in particular that rubbed DeRozan the wrong way was when Ujiri stated that he “gave them a chance” to succeed upon arriving in 2013.

“I mean, when you say ‘them,’ that’s kind of frustrating. Like, who is ‘them’? You put the blame on just me and (former head coach Dwane) Casey? Because obviously we are the only two who had to suffer from the loss that we had in the Cleveland series. But it’s only one team that we lost to in the postseason – and that team went to the Finals every single year. With an opportunity approaching itself, my mindset and the rest of my teammates’ mindset was the only guy who was in the way of making that happen leaves,” added DeRozan.

“Now we got a great opportunity to do something that we haven’t been able to do. At the end of the day, I gave everything I had to that team. And it showed, it showed in the progress we made as a team and me as an individual. So when you put that out there saying ‘gave them chances’ and ‘I have to do something’… It’s B.S. to me.”

Toronto finished first in the Eastern Conference in 2017-18 with a franchise-best 59-23 record. Despite their regular-season success, the team was once again overpowered by LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the second round of the playoffs, resulting in a sweep at the hands of The King for the second year in a row.

 

Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri held court with media Friday in the wake of the Kawhi LeonardDeMar DeRozan blockbuster trade, and led off with a direct apology to DeRozan, who suggested via social media that he’d been hurt by the deal.

I want to not only apologize to DeMar DeRozan for maybe a gap of miscommunication, but also to acknowledge him and what he’s done here with the Raptors, for this city, for this country. There’s no measure to what this kid has done.

Ujiri explained that a conversation with DeRozan at Las Vegas Summer League may have led his former star to believe he was part of the Raptors’ long-term plans:

I had a conversation with DeMar at summer league and I really want to leave it at that. I spoke to him, and I think maybe my mistake was talking about what we expected going forward from him. I think that’s where the gap was … If there was a miscommunication there, I apologize to DeMar and his family and his representation. Opportunities come and go, and we have to react in my position. And I had to react this time, with this deal on the table.

The Raptors president suggested that the team’s playoff failures against the Cleveland Cavaliers were the impetus for the changes, which also included the firing of NBA Coach of the Year Dwane Casey.

I hate to be defensive here, but I can also say when I came here, I gave them (DeRozan, Casey, etc.) a chance … At some point, we have to do something different.

Ujiri also addressed the fact that he acquired a player in Leonard who’s widely viewed as a flight risk if he becomes an unrestricted free agent next summer:

When you get a chance to get a top-five player, which doesn’t come very often … I think you have to jump on it.

Ujiri said it is his job as team president to sell the two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year on the long-term prospects of the Toronto franchise. He confirmed that he’s spoken with Leonard and his representatives.

(Leonard) didn’t express a lack of interest in playing in Canada to me … I’ve had conversations with Kawhi, his agent, his uncle, and everything has gone well. I look forward to meeting with them face to face, and that’s our responsibility. There’s a lot to sell here: our team, our culture, our city, our ownership. We have everything here except a championship, in my humble opinion … There is something about this place that reaches out to the whole world, and we’re proud of that, and we’re going to continue to sell that.

Ujiri contradicted an earlier report that Leonard would be in Toronto on Friday for his physical, saying he would be arriving in the “next few days.”

The San Antonio Spurs have officially traded Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green to the Toronto Raptors for DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl, and a protected first-round pick, the Spurs announced.

The pick is top-20 protected in 2019, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. If it does not convey next season, it will reportedly become two future second-round picks.

The two sides had reportedly been discussing the framework of a trade for two weeks, the culmination of nearly a year of growing division between Leonard and the Spurs. Amid a prolonged recovery from injury, Leonard made just nine appearances for the team in 2017-18, sitting out the entire postseason.

Since being selected No. 15 overall in 2011, Leonard has blossomed into one of the league’s top two-way players when healthy, averaging 16.3 points, 6.2 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 1.8 steals per game over seven seasons. His breakout proved critical to the Spurs’ 2014 championship-winning squad, for which he was named the Finals MVP.

Neither player is reportedly keen on the possibility of moving to their respective potential destinations.

The move directly contradicts the Raptors’ reported insistence to DeRozan he would not be traded when the two sides met in Las Vegas earlier this month. The 28-year-old took to his personal Instagram page early Wednesday morning with messages that appear to allude to the pending trade situation: “Be told one thing and the outcome another. Can’t trust em. Ain’t no loyalty in this game. Sell you out quick for a little bit of nothing.”

In nine seasons with Toronto, DeRozan has averaged 19.7 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 3.1 assists per game, lifting the franchise to an unprecedented five straight playoff appearances and being named to an All-NBA team twice.

Kawhi Leonard has “no desire” to play for the Toronto Raptors, according to ESPN’s Chris Haynes.

The two-time Defensive Player of the Year is reportedly being exported north of the border along with Danny Green in exchange for a package including four-time All-Star DeMar DeRozanJakob Poeltl, and a protected 2019 first-round pick.

With Leonard a year out from the possibility of hitting free agency, the Raptors have “a very tough sell” on their hands, a source told TNT’s David Aldridge.

A 15 percent trade kicker increases Leonard’s 2018-19 salary to $23.1 million, and though he has a player option worth $21.3 million for 2019-20, there’s little chance he opts in at that below-market figure, barring catastrophic injury. In all likelihood, Leonard will test the open market next summer as an unrestricted free agent.

In addition to a one-year window to change the 27-year-old’s opinion of the organization (and stymie a reported desire to play for the Los Angeles Lakers), the Raptors have one ace up their sleeve. Toronto can re-sign Leonard to a five-year deal in the range of $190 million next summer, whereas he stands to lock in just $141 million over four years should he sign elsewhere.