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Raptors GM Masai Ujiri issues public apology to DeMar DeRozan

Since the Toronto Raptors made the blockbuster trade to acquire All-Star forward Kawhi Leonard in a multi-player deal that included All-Star guard DeMar DeRozan, much of the attention has been shifted on the handling of the communication been them and the franchise’s all-time leading scorer.

There are reports that stated that the Raptors had previously met with DeRozan and told him he would not be moved. With that in mind, Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri voiced a public apology toward the 28-year-old for how things are handled, according to ESPN.

“I had a conversation with DeMar at summer league, and I really want to leave it at that,” Ujiri said Friday. “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.”

It was a difficult situation that Ujiri had found himself in given that his desire was likely to hold onto DeRozan, but the opportunity to snag a player of Leonard’s status was something that couldn’t be passed up. There was a strong personal connection that the All-Star guard had with the franchise, but sometimes business decisions are made that put that aside.

These were likely comments that Ujiri felt obliged to make publicly given that it gives off the wrong public perception that could hurt their chances to secure top-tier free agents in the future and possibly with Leonard. It all puts the Raptors in a tough spot of having to reason why they why made their choice to move on from one of their franchise cornerstone players.

Ultimately, this is a move that Ujiri believes that could have been handled better with DeRozan in the communication process.

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