That said, both men still support players expressing a desire to be traded.
"I still have to side with individuals doing what they want with the rest of their lives," Popovich said after saying the requests have a "deleterious" effect on the NBA, per Tom Osborn of the Express-News.
"We all have the right, and if you feel that way, if you are not comfortable, if you want to go somewhere else that you feel you will be better off being at, go for it," DeRozan said. "I'm all for it. Nobody should feel enclosed to be at one place if they don't feel like it. I don't have a problem with it."
The Spurs traded Leonard and Danny Green for DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl and a protected 2019 first-round pick last July. DeRozan spent his first nine seasons in Toronto, becoming one of the most beloved players in franchise history.
Leonard, Paul George, Kyrie Irving and Anthony Davis have each requested trades over the last two years. Davis is the only one to not have his trade request granted, though he will almost certainly be dealt this summer. The other three players each made their request during the offseason.
The Indiana Pacers are the only team to get back anything resembling what they gave up, though Victor Oladipo's injury-plagued season has made it abundantly clear they still downgraded. The Spurs have been fine without Leonard, hanging in the West playoff race, but the Raptors are legitimate Finals contenders.
"A normal person at a job, if they don't want to work at that job any more, they can easily put in their 30-day notice and go elsewhere if it's best for them," DeRozan said. "I don't see why we shouldn't be able to have that same right."
Popovich and DeRozan, of course, are 100 percent correct. Teams have the ability to trade players without notice at any point. It's only fair that arrangement is a two-way street; otherwise players and teams should both be bound to each other for the length of any contract.
Given the fervor trade season commands, that's never going to happen, so players publicly requesting trades will likely become a new norm in the NBA.