DeMar DeRozan thanks Toronto with touching message after trade to Spurs

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That he appeared at Raptors team headquarters and was wearing a Raptors shirt seems like small news, but not after a week in which it appeared he had no intention of warming to the idea that he now plays basketball in Toronto.

A person close to Leonard told Mark Zeigler of the San Diego Union-Tribune that he believes Kawhi will fall in love with Toronto and end up re-signing next summer.

The Toronto Raptors have always struggled to attract top-level free agents to join them so when the opportunity to trade for Kawhi Leonard arose, they simply couldn't pass it up. Can't trust em. Ain't no loyalty in this game.

Raptors President Masai Ujiri was apologetic on Friday, admitting that he may have inadvertently misled the team's franchise player.

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But he said he regretted perhaps indicating to DeRozan that he wouldn't be traded.

DeRozan had said emphatically in the past that he wanted to finish his career with the Raptors. "We spoke. I think maybe my mistake was talking about what we expected going forward from him".

Under the leadership of DeRozan and All-Star guard Kyle Lowry, the Raptors reached the Eastern Conference finals in 2016. "When you have a chance to get a top 5 player, we have to jump on it".

"You can't do this same thing over and over again", Ujiri said.

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There are other factors that seem unlikely to influence Leonard's decision, such as the fact that he is a fan of rapper Drake, who is the most well-known Raptors fan.

Leonard and his advisors have since rejected a $20 million offer from the Jordan brand to extend his association with them and ruled out the possibility of a five-year, $221-million extension by making the move from San Antonio to Toronto. As things stand now, the chances of either of the two Los Angeles' teams playing deeper into the postseason than the Leonard-led Raptors are slim.

"I think there's a lot of sell here, our team, our culture, our city", Ujiri said.

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