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Monday, July 13, 2020

Articles tagged: DeMar DeRozan

Masai Ujiri says he still has a lot to do to mend his relationship with DeMar DeRozan

Masai Ujiri Raptors

Masai Ujiri is keeping it real about where he stands with former Toronto Raptors star DeMar DeRozan nearly two years after he dealt DeRozan away.

In an interview with TNT’s Ernie Johnson on Monday that aired on the NBA’s social media accounts, the Raptors GM said he had mended his relationship with ex-coach Dwane Casey but still had a lot of work to do with DeRozan.

“It’s not easy,” said Ujiri, per Tim Bontemps of ESPN. “If you have that human part of you, you feel it in your heart. I will never ever forget having to do that with Coach Casey and walking to his office, waking up that morning. Many times I wanted to move it and change it or think that you’re not making the right decision. It was incredibly hard, because Casey is an incredible person, and so great to work with … DeMar, I was in the hotel in Kenya, and I walked around that hotel at 4 a.m., 5 a.m. for a couple hours, trying to gather up enough strength and courage to make this phone call. I will never forget it.

“With Casey, it has gotten so much better now with his family and him,” Ujiri added. “With DeMar there is still plenty of work to be done. But, by the grace of God, it will all get better. We have to continue to make these decisions that are tough. But that’s the business of basketball, and the position we are in.”

Casey was let go as Raptors coach following the 2017-18 season, his seventh in charge, and has since become head coach of the Detroit Pistons. DeRozan, a lifelong Raptor, was traded to the San Antonio Spurs weeks later in a deal that sent Kawhi Leonard to Toronto. The moves ultimately paid off when Leonard and new head coach Nick Nurse led the Raptors to the 2019 championship, their first in franchise history.

There was some recent buzz about DeRozan potentially returning to Toronto, but it sounds like there is still a gap with Ujiri that would have to be bridged before that even becomes a possibility.

DeMar DeRozan reportedly unhappy with Spurs

DeMar DeRozan

DeMar DeRozan could choose to opt out of his contract after this season and leave San Antonio. It sounds like that is something he wants to do.

Jabari Young, who covered for the Spurs from 2013-2019, appeared on The Blitz on ESPN San Antonio last month. He talked about DeRozan’s status in San Antonio and said the forward is not happy with the Spurs.

“Listen, I don’t have to sugarcoat anything. DeMar DeRozan is not happy in San Antonio,” Young said. “The offense is not running as smoothly as one should think with a guy like him in the lineup, and there are problems are there. And so you have to decide if you’re going to take that money or if you’re going to come back to a situation that’s just not suitable … the experiment is not working.”

DeRozan is in his second season with the Spurs after being traded there for Kawhi Leonard. He was not pleased with a benching in December. Then in early March, Chris Haynes reported that DeRozan would opt out of his contract, but still would consider re-signing with the Spurs.

Given the current situation in the NBA, it’s fair to wonder whether things have changed and if DeRozan might consider picking up his $27.7 million option.

H/T Pro Basketball Talk

Report: DeMar DeRozan expected to opt out of contract with Spurs

DeMar DeRozan

DeMar DeRozan is expected to opt out of his contract with the San Antonio Spurs this summer, according to a report.

During Tuesday night’s Spurs-Dallas Mavericks game, Chris B. Haynes reported during the first quarter of the game that DeRozan is expected to decline his $27.7 million player option for next season. Such a decision would make DeRozan a top free agent during the summer.

Haynes says that the New York Knicks are expected to have interest in DeRozan if he becomes a free agent. Haynes also says that even if DeRozan turns down his option, he would still have interest in talking with the Spurs about re-signing with them.

DeRozan is in his second season with the Spurs after being traded there from Toronto in the Kawhi Leonard deal. He is averaging 22.3 points, 5.7 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game this season, all while shooting a career-best 52.8 percent from the floor.

DeRozan has his limitations — he doesn’t shoot the three very often, which is rare in today’s game — but he is otherwise a strong scorer and would help a team like the Knicks. Back in October, a report said the Spurs and DeRozan had discussed a contract extension.

Report: Heat interested in acquiring DeMar DeRozan, LaMarcus Aldridge

DeMar DeRozan

The Miami Heat are probably one piece away from true championship contention, and they are on the hunt ahead of the Feb. 6 trade deadline.

Shandel Richardson of Sports Illustrated reported on Monday that the Heat have shown interest in the San Antonio Spurs’ star duo of DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge. Richardson also notes Miami’s interest in New Orleans Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday, which had previously been reported.

The Heat have been one of the biggest surprises in the league this season. They sit at 29-13 (second in the Eastern Conference) despite giving heavy rotation minutes to two rookies (Kendrick Nunn and Tyler Herro) as well as three other players age 25 or younger (Bam Adebayo, Derrick Jones Jr, and Duncan Robinson).

Richardson adds that the Heat would almost certainly have to give up one of their other young players such as Justise Winslow in addition to a veteran like Kelly Olynyk or Dion Waiters. But with the aforementioned Spurs expanding their respective games this season, it may be a price worth paying for Miami.

DeMar DeRozan not pleased about late benching against Rockets

DeMar DeRozan

San Antonio Spurs leading scorer DeMar DeRozan did not see the floor for the final minutes of Monday’s loss to the Houston Rockets, and it did not sit too well with him.

“It’s always tough to take,” said DeRozan after being benched for the last 4:46 of the 109-107 loss, per Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News. “You want to be out there to compete. It definitely sucks when you’re not out there.”

Osborn also adds that the four-time All-Star sat on the end of the bench during that final stretch and appeared at times to be disengaged.

“He’s a competitive guy and he wanted to be out there and you can’t fault him for that,” teammate Rudy Gay said in DeRozan’s defense Wednesday. “Coach [Gregg Popovich] went in a different direction. No matter what, being a competitor, it’s not like you are looking down at your teammates or anything. He just wanted to be out there. And that’s what you want. It would be a problem if he didn’t want to be out there.”

DeRozan struggled on Monday against the Rockets, scoring a mere 12 points on 5-of-12 shooting and logging a team-high four turnovers. But he has been one of the most consistent Spurs all season, averaging 20.9 points and 4.7 assists per game, both tops on the team.

Popovich has notably benched DeRozan before, so it will be worth monitoring how the 30-year-old star responds to this latest one.

DeMar DeRozan really does not like Instagram, social media

DeMar DeRozan

DeMar DeRozan finds himself playing in the wrong era.

Not only is DeRozan a player who doesn’t really shoot 3-pointers — which is odd for a guard these days — but he also isn’t a big social media fan.

DeRozan said after his San Antonio Spurs’ 113-101 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday night that he doesn’t like social media. The question came up because he cleared out his Instagram account to the point that he now has zero posts despite having 2.5 million followers.

Like DeRozan says, having social media these days is almost essential, especially for someone who is famous and has fans. At the same time, it can also lead to problems, such as speculation about trades based on a player’s activity. And right now, some are speculating he’s looking to start fresh. There has even been a rumor about his former team potentially reacquiring him.

If you take him at his word, you shouldn’t worry too much about his Instagram activity.

Raptors could reunite with DeMar DeRozan via trade?

DeMar DeRozan

Toronto’s exiled son may be coming on home in the not-too-distant future.

In a piece by Frank Urbina of HoopsHype that ran Wednesday, an anonymous Western Conference executive was quoted as saying that the Raptors would be a logical trade destination for San Antonio Spurs swingman DeMar DeRozan.

“It sounds crazy, but Toronto actually makes a lot of sense as a landing spot for DeRozan,” the executive said. “As far as what Toronto would have to give up, it would probably be a first-round pick plus Serge Ibaka or Marc Gasol.”

The 30-year-old DeRozan was, of course, a lifelong Raptor until the team traded him to the Spurs for Kawhi Leonard in 2018, netting them their first-ever NBA title. DeRozan is now averaging 22.2 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 4.6 assists per game in his second season with San Antonio. He is making $27.7 million this season and has a player option for the same amount in 2020-21.

DeRozan is still beloved in Toronto and did not leave out of his own volition, so the fanbase would obviously love him back if the circumstances line up.