DeRozan says he was 'sacrificial lamb,' calls Popovich 'Don Corleone' in interview

DeRozan speaks about Raptors success, head coach Gregg Popovich

(AP Photo/Eric Gay)
(AP Photo/Eric Gay)

As the Raptors made a run to the NBA Finals, one of the big questions in San Antonio has been how Spurs guard DeMar DeRozan has felt about his former team’s success after he was traded for Kawhi Leonard.

In a lengthy interview with Turner Sports’ and Bleacher Report’s Taylor Rooks, DeRozan discussed his feelings toward Toronto and other several topics. 

DeRozan said he’s supporting his former teammates and wishes them well.

“My best friend is Kyle (Lowry), so I’m rooting for my best friend to do well and accomplish something we tried to do all those years, and he has the opportunity to do it,” said DeRozan.

As he has said in previous interviews, DeRozan said he was initially shocked he was traded after he spent his entire career to that point with the franchise.

The Raptors with Kawhi Leonard advanced to the franchise’s first NBA Finals this season.

“If it wasn’t for all the years and groundwork that I did before then, none of those things would have been possible,” said DeRozan. “I fought, I sacrificed, I pushed the limits to where I had to be the sacrificial lamb.”

DeRozan added that despite being hurt, he sat back and realized he was part of the reason for Toronto’s success, but he believed the organization felt it needed to trade him for Leonard to get to the next level.

Rooks then asked DeRozan about his move to San Antonio and playing for head coach Gregg Popovich. 

“Pop is cool, he’s like a Don Corleone,” DeRozan said. “He makes you look at him not like the basketball coach, but like a great individual.”

DeRozan discussed Spurs’ team dinners and said win or lose, Popovich always wants to “break bread and have a good night with the family.”

The interview went into other topics, including DeRozan’s affinity for shoes, his respect for Kobe Bryant and he also shared a touching story about his relationship with slain rapper Nipsey Hussle.

You can watch the full episode of “Take It There” with Taylor Rooks below.

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