Demar Derozan is no longer a Toronto Raptor. I hate to see it, you hate to see it. There are not many of us that ever thought we would see the day but for the first time in his career, “The Kid from Compton” will put on a new jersey and represent a different team and a different city. To be honest with you I am not even that mad about the trade in general. Everyone in Toronto seems to be up in arms about why they would do this to him and shocked that they could send away their “franchise” player. Yeah okay, maybe Demar was our franchise player but he is not a franchise player. Unfortunately, in today’s NBA you cannot build a team around a player like Derozan and it isn’t his fault, it’s just the direction the game is headed. Franchise players show up in big games, they have the capability of carrying an entire team through games if necessary and I just don’t think Derozan has that. Lebron James, Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, these guys are franchise players. They have the ability to kick it into another gear and don’t shrink when big moments arise, they embrace those moments and show no mercy. Strictly based on recency bias, this is how I remember the Toronto Raptors with Demar Derozan: 2-12. That’s 2-12 against Lebron in the last 3 playoff runs. The regular season means absolutely nothing if you can’t perform in the playoffs. I don’t care if they win 82 games and set the mark for best regular season record of all time because if you cannot transfer those wins to the post-season, it’s useless. This is the same reason they got rid of Head Coach Dwayne Casey and everyone was equally so shocked. Yea, Casey won Coach of the Year because that award was based on the regular season, if it had been based on playoffs as well, he may not have even been in the top 3.
The reason anyone is surprised about this whole thing is beyond me. They act like everyone in the NBA is so loyal to each other. Demar Derozan: loyal guy, loyal to this organization and loyal to this city, but who is to say that it is the same situation in return? The Toronto Raptors organization is a business first, the management has to make the right moves to keep their jobs, they don’t really care if people get hurt in the process. That’s the main thing people don’t realize when it comes to sports is that it is a job not just a game. These players are getting paid a tremendous amount of money to perform at the highest level on the biggest stages. There is no time for emotion in this market, it is dog eat dog, if you can’t meet expectations, they will find someone who can. I hate to see Demar go, I really do. He was the icon of Toronto Raptor’s basketball for many years and his legacy will always live on in the city but when you really take a step back and analyze this move it makes more and more sense. If Kawhi only stays for the one year like everyone believes, the Raptors will still be in an opportunistic position. We have a lot of young talent and with Lebron James only getting older and the Warriors reign of terror coming closer to an end, a rebuild does not look too bad right about now. That’s worst case scenario. Best case scenario you convince Leonard to sign long-term and have a superstar for 5 years giving you the best chance to make the Finals every season, barring injury. It is really a win-win situation in my eyes.
To quote my lanky Raptor loving pal Jesse: “It’s not often you get a chance at a top 4 player in the league and Masai jumped on it and executed a great trade for Toronto. It’s something none of us wanted to see but it had to be done.”
Toronto loves you Demar, you will be missed but I think it was time to turn the page.