DeMar DeRozan Says He's 'So Grateful' for Raptors Fans in Farewell IG Post

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJuly 21, 2018

Toronto Raptors' DeMar DeRozan plays against the Boston Celtics during the third quarter of an NBA basketball game in Boston, Saturday, March 31, 2018. The Celtics won 110-99. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

Following his trade to the San Antonio Spurs, four-time All-Star shooting guard DeMar DeRozan took to Instagram on Saturday to thank Toronto Raptors fans.

In a post accompanied by a photo of DeRozan signing a jersey for a fan, he wrote the following:

"Words could never express what you've meant to me. 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. #Comp10 #ProveEm."

DeRozan was dealt with center Jakob Poeltl and a top-20-protected 2019 first-round pick to the Spurs on Wednesday for small forward Kawhi Leonard and shooting guard Danny Green.

The 28-year-old DeRozan spent the first nine seasons of his career with the Raptors after getting selected out of USC with the No. 9 overall pick in the 2009 NBA draft.

He has been an All-Star in four of the past five seasons, and he is among the biggest reasons why the Raptors have made five consecutive playoff appearances.

While DeRozan was shipped to an even more successful team, he made it clear after the deal was announced that he wasn't happy about how things were handled.

Per ESPN.com's Adrian Wojnarowski, DeRozan wrote the following on his Instagram story: "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..."

According to ESPN.com, Raptors president Masai Ujiri apologized Friday:

"I had a conversation with DeMar at summer league, and I really want to leave it at that. We spoke ... I think maybe my mistake was talking about what we expected going forward from him. So, not necessarily talking about a trade but what I expect from him going forward, and I think that's where the gap was. ...

"In my job, I always have to assume we're going forward with the team that I have. If there was a miscommunication there, I do apologize to DeMar and his family and his representation. It's not what I meant."

DeRozan was part of a quality package for the Spurs considering Leonard seemingly had no interest in remaining with the team.

In addition to helping the Raptors capture the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference with a 59-23 record in 2017-18, DeRozan averaged 23.0 points, 5.2 assists and 3.9 rebounds per game.

He will join forces with six-time All-Star big man LaMarcus Aldridge in hopes of leading the Spurs to a 22nd consecutive playoff appearance.