The Kawhi Leonard-DeMar DeRozan trade earlier this week is already at least as drama-filled as the Boston Celtics shipping off Isaiah Thomas last offseason for Kyrie Irving.
Intriguingly enough, DeRozan was purportedly promised not long before by Toronto Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri that the team had no intentions of trading him. And then... they traded him.
During a press conference on Friday to discuss the deal, Ujiri issued an apology to DeRozan for what he described as a "gap of miscommunication."
“I want to not only apologize to DeMar DeRozan for maybe a gap of miscommunication, but also to acknowledge him and what he’s done here with the Raptors, for this city, for this country. There’s no measure to what this kid has done.” - Ujiri— (((Eric Koreen))) (@ekoreen) July 20, 2018
Ujiri went on to continue his praise for what DDR did for the Raptors and the city of Toronto during his decade-long tenure.
Ujiri: "DeMar has done so much for this organization. When you’re in my position you always have to be open in what you can do. Both of us had a conversation, and me and DeMar know what that conversation was. Maybe I could have handled it better. That’s what I’m apologizing for."— David Aldridge (@daldridgetnt) July 20, 2018
It is unknown how DeRozan will react to this apology from his former general manager, as he has gone relatively quiet after his outburst on social media Wednesday, saying there is no loyalty in the game of basketball.
The situation is equally uneasy for the Raptors, as there is uncertainty about whether Leonard will report to the team. That is further ballooned by the fact that a certain former NBA Finals MVP was not present for Friday's presser.
This is the boldest move Masai Ujiri has made in his 8+ year career as a top NBA exec. In 12 months from now we'll either call it brilliant or a big miss. Hard to see it landing anywhere in between.— Josh Lewenberg (@JLew1050) July 18, 2018
First, Ujiri fired Coach of the Year Dwane Casey. Next, he traded DeRozan for Leonard. Daring moves indeed.
Ujiri tried to fan the flames of this dramatic inferno, but it remains to be seen if his gambits will be successful-- or more importantly, if DeRozan will even accept his apology.