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DeRozan: 'Blessing in disguise' to play for Coach Pop, Spurs

In an interview with ESPN, DeRozan says he's "still in shock" about being traded, but is looking forward to playing for Coach Pop and alongside his close friend, Rudy Gay.
Getty Images/KENS illustration.

SAN ANTONIO — The Spurs' DeMar DeRozan says he's "still in shock" in regards to the blockbuster trade that brought him to San Antonio and sent Kawhi Leonard to the Toronto Raptors.

In an interview with ESPN's Chris Haynes, which aired Tuesday evening, DeRozan broke down his thoughts on the Silver and Black, including getting the opportunity to play under coach Gregg Popovich and alongside his friend Rudy Gay.

DeRozan told ESPN that Gay was the second person he talked to after being informed by the Raptors that he would be traded to the Spurs. Gay, whom DeRozan calls a "close friend," reassured him that playing for San Antonio was "'gon' be aight, man.'"

"It was cool to be able to call somebody that's close in my life that's on the Spurs too," DeRozan explained to ESPN.

DeRozan spent nine seasons with the Raptors and was coached by Dwane Casey for most of his tenure with the team. DeRozan said he spoke to his former coach, who assured him he was "going to love Pop."

DeRozan, who told ESPN that he's "always been a fan of Pop," described the opportunity to learn from the coach as "one of those blessings in disguise."

Speaking to the expectations Spurs fans should have for DeRozan going forward, the four-time NBA All-Star emphasized that he'll be playing this season with "the biggest chip on his shoulder ever." DeRozan has made it clear since news of the trade broke that he's upset with the Raptors, and indicated that he'll use that as a driving force throughout his first season with San Antonio.

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