It’s been a few weeks since Kawhi Leonard was traded by the Spurs for DeMar DeRozan, but the blockbuster trade remains a major topic of conversation across the league.
While appearing on the Hartford Courant’s UConn Insider podcast to reflect on his basketball career, Spurs forward Rudy Gay shared some insight on how the front offices for the Spurs and Toronto Raptors operated prior to the Leonard-DeRozan deal.
“On one side of the situation, there was one guy (Leonard) that was trying to get out, get to a bigger market, and they were totally being up front with him, and then they trade him for a guy (DeRozan) where, that organization wasn’t being upfront with him at all,” Gay said. “So I mean, it’s just night and day. That trade right there shows you the difference between the San Antonio Spurs and other organizations.”
Gay, who is set to begin his second season in San Antonio, was traded by the Raptors to the Sacramento Kings during the 2013 regular season. DeRozan and Gay are also close friends.
“The best part about San Antonio, they do right by you,” Gay said. “They do right by their players, do right by their staff. They do right by you,” Gay said. ’That doesn’t happen much in the NBA, to be honest with you. It doesn’t happen much.”
When asked about head coach Gregg Popovich, Gay said “Pop is going to give it to you straight.”
“You have to respect a person who will lay it on the line and doesn’t sugarcoat anything,” Gay added. “He’ll tell you exactly how he feels and then, afterward, have wine with you.”
In his first season with San Antonio, the veteran forward averaged 11.5 points and six rebounds per game. He is expected to contribute more this season after the Spurs parted ways with Leonard.
Gay said he’s happy to be in a winning situation, no matter what his role is. He called the Spurs “a machine” and said that at the end of the day, much like the Golden State situation, it’s just about winning.
“That’s exactly the motto we have," Gay said. "We just want to win.”