A loyal, fan-favorite NBA player went into the offseason convinced he’d stay with his current team, only to be coldly sent packing in a surprising trade.
While far from identical, DeMar DeRozan’s trade from the Toronto Raptors to the San Antonio Spurs in Wednesday’s Kawhi Leonard blockbuster bears some similarity to the Boston Celtics dealing Isaiah Thomas to the rival Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for Kyrie Irving last summer.
So, perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that Thomas weighed in on the DeRozan-Leonard trade just hours after it became official — and took an apparent swipe at the Celtics in the process.
Thomas had an incredible season for the Celtics in 2016-17, averaging 28.9 points per game and lifting them to the Eastern Conference finals while still reeling from the death of his younger sister, Chyna. But instead of “backing up the Brinks truck” for Thomas and giving him a maximum contract, Danny Ainge and the C’s unceremoniously shipped him out of town, much to Thomas’ surprise and anger.
The 29-year-old has failed to recapture that excellence ever since and recently signed a veteran’s minimum contract with Denver Nuggets. So, he’s well aware there’s no loyalty in the NBA.
DeRozan found that out the hard way Wednesday. The 28-year-old reportedly never even took a visit with another team during his nine-year tenure with the Raptors and claims the franchise lied to him about not dealing him, according to TNT’s David Aldridge.
DeRozan still is in a better place than Thomas: He’s set to earn $27.7 million in each of the next three seasons and joins a strong franchise in San Antonio. But he certainly knows where the ex-Celtic is coming from now.