San Antonio Spurs star DeMar DeRozan might be rooting for his former Toronto Raptors teammates in the 2019 NBA Finals. In no way does this mean he doesn’t have hard feelings after being traded from Toronto in the Kawhi Leonard deal ahead of the 2018-19 season.
In fact, DeRozan is out here pretty much concluding that he was a major component in the team’s ability to make its first ever NBA Finals. The All-Star is also calling himself a “sacrificial lamb.”
“Honestly, I don’t think I even said this — I probably said it to my own inner circle — but if it wasn’t for all the years and groundwork that I did before then, none of them things would’ve been possible,” DeRozan told Bleacher Report (h/t ESPN). “Yes, I fought, I sacrificed, I pushed the limits to where I had to be the sacrificial lamb.”
There’s certainly some merit to this. Toronto won 50-plus games in each of DeRozan‘s final three seasons with the team. He also earned an All-Star appearance each season and averaged nearly 25 points per game.
Despite this, the trade that sent Leonard up north improved Toronto leaps and bounds. There’s no sane person out there that can conclude DeRozan is on the same level as Leonard.
Add in the throw in of Danny Green in the trade, and that’s the primary reason Toronto is in position to earn a first title in franchise history.
DeRozan should be able to admit this.