One year after calling the Raptors GM a liar, DeMar DeRozan is on the outside of the NBA Finals. He is cheering for his friends as they try to figure out the Warrior dynasty. But no one would blame DeRozan for thinking he should be the starting two guard in the Finals, and not Danny Green.
The way DeRozan has decided to make peace with everything that happened to him nearly a year ago- just for the record, being on the Spurs isn’t a disaster by any means- is he likens himself to a sacrificial lamb. His logic goes something like this. For the Raptors to be able to get Kawhi Leonard in a trade for him, DeRozan had to be the kind of player to amass points, games, All-Star nods. He had to be special. In that, he’s right. But his logic goes off the rails when he compares himself to a sacrificial lamb.
A sacrificial lamb is murdered. The sacrifice is his life. Last I checked, DeRozan still has $100 mil left on his deal and is a member of one of the best organizations in sports.
It’s important to note that sacrificial lambs are sacrificed for the common good. Everyone benefits.
The only people who benefited from DeRozan leaving Toronto were Kawhi Leonard and the Raptors B+ players who now have a superstar to make the game easier. The rest of the East surely didn’t benefit. The NBA didn’t benefit. The Finals with a team in Canada is doing nothing special in the ratings. So the league didn’t benefit. So, no DeMar DeRozan was not a sacrificial lamb.
He was an asset. An asset has value. He was a commodity that could be flipped to get a higher value asset.
DeMar DeRozan is the leading scorer in Raptors history. He was drafted in 2009 and every single year he improved, including All-Star berth years and playoff appearance years. As a free agent, he could have left for his hometown team (Lakers) but chose to stay put because the Raptors records meant something to him, as did the organization itself.
The problem was that DeRozan valued the Raptors more than they valued him. They valued him enough to max him out but DeRozan was never going to be untouchable. His game wasn’t special enough. That’s where the disconnect with players begins. They think of the organization as special and the organization thinks of them as maybe temporary if something better comes along.
Something better usually comes along. Being traded is common. There are no guarantees. Of the top-10 picks in the DeMar DeRozan 2009 draft, 9 of the 10 have been traded.
- #1 pick Blake Griffin- traded once
- #2 pick Hasheem Thabeet- traded three times
- #3 pick James Harden- traded once
- #4 pick Tyreke Evans- traded twice
- #5 pick Ricky Rubio-traded once
- #6 pick Jonny Flynn- traded twice
- #8 pick Jordan Hill-traded twice
- #9 pick DeMar DeRozan- traded once
- #10 pick Brandon Jennings-traded three times
Steph Curry, #7 pick, is the only player in the top-10 of the 2009 draft that has never been traded.
Of the 9 players traded, none of them were sacrificial lambs. James Harden was traded after he went to the NBA Finals. He was not a sacrificial lamb. It was a business decision.
DeRozan being traded was a business decision. The Raptors are better without him. DeRozan is worse without them. It’s how it goes in business. Plus, the room knows what DeRozan can’t admit.
Kawhi is better.