LAS VEGAS – A whirlwind week for DeMar DeRozan came to an end Thursday on a basketball court in Las Vegas with his new head coach, Gregg Popovich.
It’s been a strange journey for DeRozan, who 10 days ago was the face of the Toronto Raptors.
He is now a member of the San Antonio Spurs after the blockbuster trade that sent Kawhi Leonard north of the border.
“It was a rough week. It was extremely hard,” DeRozan said. “I can’t sit up here and lie."
DeRozan admittedly has been upset since the trade occurred.
He’s been outspoken on social media and gave an exclusive interview to ESPN on Tuesday to discuss the trade, and his feelings toward Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri.
He described his relationship with Ujiri as being “done” with, and said he has no plans to speak to him in the near future.
DeRozan has played his entire nine-year career in Toronto, fell in love with the city and stayed loyal to the franchise.
“My reason for that was to speak out for myself, leave my words out there and really concentrate on moving on and not living in the past,” DeRozan said. “I just want to move on and begin something new.”
More from #Spurs guard DeMar DeRozan at @usabasketball minicamp...comments on past week, says relationship w/#Raptors GM Masai Ujiri 'done,' ready to move on, but will circle date for return to Toronto..expect many SA fans will also circle Kawhi return (vid via @adamthephotog) pic.twitter.com/WdxfJ1Jdga— RJ Marquez (@KSATRJ) July 27, 2018
DeRozan’s new chapter of his basketball career will take place in San Antonio, playing for a coach he respects and a franchise he has admired from afar.
The four-time all-star got his first taste of playing for Popovich during this week’s Team USA Basketball minicamp.
DeRozan said he’s looking forward to getting to San Antonio, and being around the full coaching staff and players.
“I’m in a great place that wanted me, that strives for greatness,” said DeRozan.
He spoke highly of the Spurs' culture and veterans, including fellow all-star LaMarcus Aldridge, calling him “by far one of the most talented power forwards in this game.”
When asked about Manu Ginobili, DeRozan said he hoped the Spurs icon returns for another season.
“That’s another guy to learn from,” said DeRozan. “I’ve been a fan way before I was in the league so it would be great to learn and pick a guy like that’s brain.”
As DeRozan moves on and prepares to wear silver and black, one of many things he is looking forward to next season, as are Spurs fans, will be his return to Toronto and Leonard’s return to San Antonio.
“It definitely will be a date circled, without a doubt,” said DeRozan.
WATCH: #Spurs guard DeMar DeRozan spoke at @usabasketball practice today..talks playing for Popovich, playing with vets like LaMarcus, Pau and getting acclimated to San Antonio...adds that he 'hopes' Manu returns and ready to move on (vid via @adamthephotog) #KSATsports #USABMNT pic.twitter.com/uwW0266KBh— RJ Marquez (@KSATRJ) July 27, 2018