DeMar DeRozan revealed on Wednesday that it took him a long time to get over his trade out of Toronto because he wanted to retire a Raptor.
On Wednesday, DeRozan was interviewed by ESPN.com's Michael C. Wright, and discussed how frustrated he was when first hearing about his trade to San Antonio. DeRozan said, "I definitely was extremely hurt. I'd be lying if I told you I wasn't. I always made it clear that Toronto was where I wanted to retire." For anyone who might assume this meant DeRozan had an issue with the Spurs, he didn't. Instead, he was all about what it meant to be a career-long player for the Raptors.
DeRozan explained, "You never heard a player say that. No star player. Nobody. My whole objective being there was fighting against the stigma that guys didn't want to play there." Certainly, DeRozan was happy in Toronto. He was entrenched in the community, the face of the franchise and had made it clear he didn't want to leave. He said he gave everything he had to the team, on and off the court, and he was repaid by being traded after being told he was staying put.
"It definitely hurt. To feel like, 'Damn, I wasn't nothing? I wasn't this? All right, cool. Now, I'm going to show you.'"
DeRozan is doing just fine in San Antonio where the Spurs are off to a 4-2 start. He's averaging 28.3 points, eight assists and six rebounds per game, and he's on pace to break his career bests. While the Raptors have a better record, DeRozan has slightly out-produced the player he was traded for in Kawhi Leonard.
If nothing else, DeRozan is motivated. He's already said his intention is to score 50 points when the Spurs meet the Raptors and one has to remember, there's no guarantee Leonard will stay in Toronto past this season. Should he not, the Raptors better win it all because they'll have moved a player who wanted to stay in Toronto forever and who is out-scoring the player who came in for one year and left the next.