The Toronto Raptors’ trade of DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poetl and a pick for Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green surprised many, including DeRozan himself, but his exit from Toronto has gone better than some players’ departures. For example, one upset fan looked to be set for a jersey burning, but then shared notes criticizing the team’s management instead:
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) July 18, 2018
And in slightly more famous circles, Raptors’ global ambassador Drake weighed in with an Instagram post thanking DeRozan for his contributions to the franchise:
To my brother @demar_derozan I want to say 10 million thank you’s on behalf of YOUR city. You are a fixture in Toronto forever and you gave everything you had. Through your leadership we had the most exciting years in franchise history. I am grateful to have witnessed your combination of skill, persistence, and loyalty from the same seats every night. Thank you for being an incredible captain and an even better friend. To Kawhi…we look forward to a this new chapter and we welcome you to the most intense and supportive city in NBA basketball!!! You have always been a poised clinical warrior and I can’t wait to see how Toronto inspires your fight. Let’s Go Raptors.
There are plenty not so thrilled about the Raptors’ trade of a long-time key player in DeRozan, including other NBA players, but it’s nice to see some fan reaction that isn’t going after him (especially in this case, where he’d expressed a desire to stay and was traded anyway). And it’s a refreshing change from some of the often-seen reaction villainizing players on their way out of town.