Chris Haynes: “We all know that the Clippers have two max slots. They’re going to be aggressive… They have interest in Jimmy Butler. They’re going to go after KD. They’re going to go after Kawhi Leonard. And, this has been said before so I’m not reporting anything new, but I think the Clippers have a really good shot at Kawhi. I really do. Give credit to that front office over there and the way they’ve changed the culture… It depends on how things play out in Toronto. I think they really have to, if not win the championship, [at least] get to the NBA Finals to kind of cure the concern. That’s going to be really interesting. I’m looking forward to how [Leonard’s free agency] is going to play out probably even more so than Kevin Durant.”
But though DeRozan admitted he no longer owns a home in Toronto, the fans sent a clear message to their former All-Star. Toronto will always be home. He’s done too much in his time living in the city for it not to be labeled another home. And though it’s clear DeRozan still isn’t satisfied with the way things transpired last summer after he was sent to the Spurs in a trade for Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green, and has yet to communicate with Raptors president Masai Ujiri, one day even that beef will end. “Time does heal everything,” DeRozan said. “That doesn’t mean it’s going to go back to the same way that it was. I’m fine with that. I moved on. I’m happy where I’m at.”
When describing what Friday’s game could be like, DeRozan compared it to breaking up with a girlfriend. “She moved on, and I moved on,” he joked. But he was quickly reminded that the fans in Toronto haven’t moved on, and DeRozan understood why. “It was an emotional connection for me,” DeRozan said. “From seeing a kid to getting to the mountain top. You go through every rollercoaster of emotion with a group of fans … over damn near a decade to where you gain a connection. All of a sudden, it’s taken away. It’s hard to move on or accept the next thing.”
DeRozan received more love from the home crowd when he knocked down San Antonio’s first bucket of the night with 10:11 left in the opening quarter, after drawing a foul on Ibaka that sent him to the free throw line. DeRozan converted the three-point play, and Raptors fans cheered. DeRozan’s second standing ovation came with 6:52 left in the opening quarter during a timeout with the Spurs trailing 12-10, when Toronto played a tribute video in his honor. The video featured several major moments in DeRozan’s career and included footage of the guard with his daughters, moments in NBA All-Star games, several dunks, candid times with best friend and former teammate Lowry, as well as highlights from when Toronto advanced to the 2016 Eastern Conference finals.
19 hours ago via ESPN