DeRozan on first game back in Toronto: The date is in my head

NBA-Spurs-DeMar-DeRozan-with-head-coach-Gregg-Popovich

United States men's national team basketball coach Gregg Popovich left, speaks with Eric Gordon (46) and DeMar DeRozan during a training camp in Las Vegas. (John Locher/AP)

San Antonio Spurs star DeMar DeRozan is already bracing for his highly anticipated return to Toronto at Scotiabank Arena.

DeRozan joined The Program on Sportsnet 650 Vancouver to discuss being traded for Kawhi Leonard saying that he already knows when the Spurs will be playing against his former team even though the schedule has not been released yet.

“I know the date. The date is in my head,” DeRozan said. “It’s definitely going to be one of those moments when, walking into the visitor’s locker room, going in a different way, seeing all the people that you’ve known over the years. It’ll definitely be different.”

The NBA All-Star, who’s set to host the DeMar DeRozan Basketball Camp from August 14 to 17 in Victoria, B.C., opened up about how he’s dealt with leaving the only NBA franchise he’s ever known after nine seasons. Given the commitment DeRozan demonstrated over his nine seasons with the Raptors, it’s no surprise the move to San Antonio hasn’t fully processed yet.

“I think it’s still got more time to grow. I’ve still got to deal with the fact of, if I get out there, putting on that jersey, going out there for the first time. It’s definitely going to take some time, but it’s gonna be one of those processes I’m looking forward to most definitely,” DeRozan said when asked if he’s at peace with the trade.

In the days following the blockbuster, much was made of DeRozan’s emotional response to being dealt from the team that drafted him with the ninth overall pick back in 2009.

According to the Raptors all-time leading scorer, his raw emotions have subsided since then.

“The first week or so, it was rough…frustration was at an all-time high. Emotionally, everything came into play when that (the trade) happened. It took awhile, took about two weeks for me to just calm down and be able to understand, you know, it’s time to move on.”

Looking back at his time with the Raptors, DeRozan adds, “Gaining that respect, not just individually, but as a team, as an organization,” is what he’s most proud of.

You can listen to the full interview below.

The Program
DeMar DeRozan on his frustration, what he built and being a visitor in Toronto
August 03 2018

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