TORONTO — DeMar DeRozan has bid farewell to Toronto.
DeRozan posted a lengthy thank-you note to the city of Toronto and Raptors fans on his Instagram account on Saturday afternoon, four days after he was traded to the San Antonio Spurs. Superstar Kawhi Leonard and forward Danny Green were sent to the Raptors in the deal, who shipped Jakob Poeltl and a protected 2019 first-round draft pick to San Antonio.
"Words could never express what you've meant to me," wrote DeRozan in a caption on a photo of him signing the back of his Raptors jersey. "I was just a 19 year old kid from Compton when we first met, but you took me in and embraced me as one of your own.
"I am so grateful for the Love and Passion that you've given me over the past 9 years. All I ever wanted to do was duplicate it 10x over just to show my appreciation. Thank you Toronto, thank you Canada."
DeRozan had said emphatically in the past that he wanted to finish his career with the Raptors. The guard voiced his displeasure regarding the trade on his Instagram account as the news was breaking on Wednesday, insinuating that Toronto's management was disloyal.
Raptors president Masai Ujiri spoke with media about the trade at a news conference on Friday. Before taking any questions he addressed DeRozan directly, apologizing for a "gap in communication" that led DeRozan to believe he would not be traded from Toronto.
Shortly after the news conference DeRozan posted a facepalming emoji to his Instagram feed.
DeRozan was Toronto's best scorer in each of the last five seasons and helped the team to a 59-23 record and the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs this past season.
The Canadian Press