Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri apologizes for ‘miscommunication’ with DeMar DeRozan


Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri apologized for “miscommunication” with DeMar DeRozan leading up to the four-time All-Star’s trade to the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday.

“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.”

Sources close to DeRozan had told ESPN’s Chris Haynes that DeRozan met with Toronto officials in Las Vegas during summer league and believed that he would not be traded.

Ujiri added Friday: “In my job, I always have to assume we’re going forward with the team that I have. If there was a miscommunication there, I do apologize to DeMar and his family and his representation. It’s not what I meant.”

Ujiri said he appreciated DeRozan’s contributions to the franchise but felt he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to acquire Kawhi Leonard.

“When you have a chance to get a top-five player, which doesn’t come very often, I think you have to jump on it,” he said.

League sources told ESPN on Wednesday that neither Leonard nor DeRozan were enthusiastic about the deal. Leonard has been clear that he plans to sign with the Lakers in free agency next summer.

“(Leonard) didn’t express a lack of interest to not play in Canada to me,” Ujiri said Friday. “A lot of these things are everybody has their own opinion about everything. … I haven’t gotten that sense from Kawhi Leonard or his people and I’m going to give him that chance when we meet face to face.”

Ujiri said Leonard will undergo a physical in the next few days. Leonard missed all but nine games last season with a quad injury and spent much of the season away from the Spurs.

“I’ve had conversations with Kawhi, with his agent, with his uncle and everything has gone well,” Ujiri said. “I look forward to meeting with them face to face, and that’s our responsibility … to figure it out and to make them as comfortable as possible. … I’m confident. I think we have a good game plan and we’ll see how that goes.”

Source : ESPN