DeMar DeRozan will play his first game in Toronto since the Toronto Raptors traded him to the San Antonio Spurs in what should be an eventful one.
Back in town for the first time since being traded by the Toronto Raptors, DeMar DeRozan told reporters he had moved on. However, you can bet there will be some emotions when he steps onto the court Friday night.
This game will certainly have a different atmosphere to when Kawhi Leonard returned to San Antonio, as you won’t get fans booing every time DeRozan touches the ball. Unlike Vince Carter, there won’t be a deep level of hatred for a player who forced his way out of town (now the hate seems to have subsided with time).
While it was a messy divorce, both the player and team got the fresh start they needed as Leonard has taken the Raptors to another level (we’ll see what the playoffs bring) while DeRozan has been keeping the Spurs in the playoff picture in the West. There doesn’t seem to be any regret from either side about the trade, despite the mixed feelings that came from it.
Toronto didn’t have a good effort in Leonard’s return to San Antonio and the last thing they want to do is let DeRozan take over the game; this is where Leonard needs to step up and show why the Raptors pushed for him in the off-season. At the same time, the rest of the team should want to make sure their former teammate doesn’t get the satisfaction of beating them again.
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Sportsnet‘s Michael Grange points out how no superstar player had a connection to the city like DeRozan. This is a player who literally tweeted out when Chris Bosh left saying “I got us” and for the most part, he delivered.
Unfortunately, in the postseason the team wasn’t able to get over the hump, with the constant take about the inability to get past LeBron James. Masai Ujiri had to make the tough decision to move out a franchise player for one who is considered a top-five player in the league. You can’t pass up on those opportunities.
Sure it came at a cost, but neither the team, the fans or DeRozan seem to feel like they have a grudge to settle. Hopefully, this game can bring the best out of both sides.
How excited are about DeRozan returning to face the Toronto Raptors? Does it give you any second thoughts about how everything played out in the summer? Let us know in the comments below.