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Cleveland Cavaliers v Toronto Raptors - Game Four

Source: Mark Blinch / Getty

It’s been a landmark season for the Toronto Raptors, as the franchise has made it to the NBA Finals for the first time in club history. For DeMar DeRozan? Not so much.

The summer before the 2018-19 season, a blockbuster trade sent DeRozan, Jakoc Pötl and a protected 2019 first round pick to the San Antonio Spurs for Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green. The trade needed to happen because Leonard wanted out of Texas, but after spending nine years up north, it sent shock waves through DeRozan’s life, as he had to deal with the sudden change and uproot his life.

For the last year, it has been apparent that DeRozan wasn’t happy with the trade, but he’s finally addressed the situation in full with Take It There with Taylor Rooks.

“I probably said this to my own inner circle, but if it wasn’t for all the years and groundwork I did before then none of them things would have been possible,” DeRozan said. “Yes, I fought. I sacrificed. I pushed the limits to where I had to be the sacrificial lamb. You just got to sit back and understand like, ‘you are the reason so many things were even possible.'”

DeRozan admits that he was “extremely hurt” by the Raptors after being dealt to the Spurs, but realizes that the club needed to get reinvigorated.

“To their credit, they probably felt like it was time to see what we can get to make that next jump,” he said. That makes sense, considering the past few years the Raptors just couldn’t get past the LeBron James-led Cavaliers. Since he joined the Lakers, the Eastern Conference has been wide open.

While the team has had success with him, for DeRozan it’s bittersweet because his best friend Kyle Lowry still plays for the Raptors.

“People got to understand, my best friend is Kyle [Lowry],” DeRozan explained. “So, I’m rooting for my best friend to do well. To accomplish something we tried to do all them years. He has the opportunity to do it. To all them guys on that team, they know I’m rooting for them.”