TORONTO — DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry are best of friends, fellow all-stars and Olympians. But DeRozan says the two Raptors had no relationship in their first year together in Toronto.
DeRozan was drafted by the Raptors in the first round (ninth overall) in 2009. Lowry was traded from Houston to Toronto in 2012.
"I don’t think I’ve ever said this publicly but he will tell you. My first year with Kyle, me and Kyle didn’t say a word to one another, we didn’t speak," DeRozan told ESPN basketball reporter Adrian Wojnarowski on the Woj Pod. "We didn’t have a conversation, we didn’t hang out, we didn’t go eat, we didn’t sit next to each another. Nothing. I didn’t have his phone number. Nothing."
DeRozan said Lowry kept his distance from all the Raptors, believing he would not be in Toronto long.
A frustrated DeRozan also said he considered asking for a trade himself when Lowry seemed headed to the Knicks in the 2013-14 season. Toronto had just traded Rudy Gay and Lowry appeared next.
"If you get traded, I’m going to ask for a trade too," DeRozan recalled telling Lowry.
The Raptors started to win and went on to finish first in their division.
"That whole season, the edge that we were playing with was incredible," DeRozan said. "It made it fun. It was a moment of us really standing tall and really fighting through all the adversity."
DeRozan said those two weeks forged his close friendship between Lowry.
DeRozan also talked about his work ethic, how he got up at 4:15 a.m. during the off-season to work out.
He said growing up in Compton, Calif., he saw things he didn’t want to see but wouldn’t let them affect him.
"You’ve got to continue to do whatever it is you need to do."
And he said he believes he can get through anything today, given the first 19 years of his life.
DeRozan, 28, says he never forgets where he came from and has a tradition before every game. He knocks on wood "to make sure it’s real."
Off the court, he has been dealing with family issues recently. DeRozan told Toronto newspapers that his father Frank has been in a Los Angeles hospital dealing with "multiple" health issues including a kidney ailment.