Report: Raptors offered to trade DeMar DeRozan to Thunder for Paul George last season

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Raptors president Masai Ujiri made a bold play last offseason, trading DeMar DeRozan for Kawhi Leonard, who can become an unrestricted free agent this summer.

But apparently Toronto had already tried to take a similar risk.

Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated:

Ujiri had been itching to shake up the roster, even before Leonard became available. (Last season, he approached the Thunder about a Paul George-for-DeRozan swap.)

Obviously, the Thunder did well to reject the offer. George re-signed, and he’s better than DeRozan.

It probably made it easier that DeRozan wouldn’t have fit well with Russell Westbrook. They’re both best with the ball and not good enough outside shooters to complement each other. Whatever risk keeping George into free agency presented, building a backcourt of Westbrook and DeRozan would have been even riskier.

It’s nice for the Raptors Leonard became available. But it seems Ujiri was pretty intent on trading DeRozan, one way or another. Ujiri declared the need for a culture reset, and though it took more than a year for Toronto make widespread changes, it probably wasn’t for a lack of effort.