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After being traded to the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday, four-time NBA All-Star DeMar DeRozan sent his heartfelt goodbye to the Toronto Raptors.

DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl, and a top-20-protected 2019 first-round pick were moved to the Spurs in exchange for Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green. DeRozan, who was selected by the Raptors with the ninth overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft, played for nine seasons with the team.

The former USC star sent his gratitude to the Raptors fans’ on Saturday, thanking the city for embracing him as one of their own. The post was also accompanied with a photo of DeRozan signing a jersey for a fan.

“Words could never express what you’ve meant to me. I was just a 19 year old kid from Compton when we first met, but you took me in and embraced me as one of your own. I am so grateful for the Love and Passion that you’ve given me over the past 9 years. All I ever wanted to do was duplicate it 10x over just to show my appreciation. Thank you Toronto, thank you Canada. #Comp10 #ProveEm,” DeRozan wrote on Instagram.

According to multiple sources, DeRozan was devastated after being traded by the Raptors, which promised him that he wouldn’t be moved. It can be recalled that DeRozan came away with the belief that he won’t be traded after having a conversation with the Raptors in Las Vegas during the summer league.

Earlier this offseason, Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri apologized to DeRozan, citing that having the opportunity to get Kawhi Leonard was just too good to pass up. Leonard only appeared in nine games for the Spurs last season due to an injury. His contract expires at the end of the season, but Ujiri is confident that they could re-sign the All-Star forward.

Great Career With The Raptors

DeRozan has been on the rise lately, making four All-Star appearances in the past five seasons. He was also instrumental to the Raptors’ five straight playoff appearances, which included a 59-23 win-loss year during the 2017-18 season.

The 28-year-old DeRozan contributed heavily to the Raptors’ offense by averaging 23.0 points, 5.2 assists and 3.9 rebounds per contest. ClutchPoints journalist Shane Mickle believes that DeRozan would be a great fit for the San Antonio Spurs and Gregg Popovich.

However, Mickie recognized the Raptors’ move to trade DeRozan, citing that the league is a business, and Toronto just saw the opportunity to become much better. DeRozan is set to join six-time All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge in San Antonio with the hopes of leading the Spurs to its 22nd straight playoff appearance.

Photo: Keith Allison | Flickr

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