NBA

Demar Derozan on Returning to the Spurs: ‘I’ve Never Been One to Run From a Challenge’

Veteran swingman DeMar DeRozan and the San Antonio Spurs are running it back this season.

DeRozan, the four-time All-Star, surprisingly opted into the final year of his contract. Although the social media world speculated that DeRozan rejoined the San Antonio Spurs for financial reasons, the former first-round pick provided a different — and blunt — answer when meeting with reporters.

DeMar DeRozan has had a stellar career

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The ninth overall pick in 2009, DeMar DeRozan has turned in a phenomenal career — and he’s not done yet.

DeRozan averaged 20 points, 4.4 rebounds, 3.6 steals, and one steal per night in 820 games across his first 11 campaigns. He spent those first nine seasons with the Toronto Raptors, eventually teaming up with Kyle Lowry to create an Eastern Conference powerhouse.

DeRozan, a four-time All-Star, has started every game he has played in since the 2010-11 season began.

A crafty player who can score at a high volume, DeRozan has hit 45.8% of his shots and 28.2% from three-point range.

In 58 career playoff games, DeRozan has averaged 21.9 points on 41.8% shooting to go with 4.6 rebounds, 3.6 assists, and 1.1 steals.

DeRozan missed out on the Toronto Raptors winning the NBA Finals in June 2019, however, because the team traded him to San Antonio in July 2018 in the Kawhi Leonard deal.

DeRozan surprised some by rejoining the Spurs

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DeMar DeRozan has continued playing at a high level since joining the San Antonio Spurs.

DeRozan averaged 21.6 points on 50.3% shooting from the field, 5.8 rebounds, and 5.9 assists in 145 games with the Spurs. His 22.1 points led the Spurs last season, although San Antonio missed the playoffs in the pandemic-affected year.

Although DeRozan could have entered free agency, the four-time All-Star opted into the final year of a five-year, $139 million contract he signed with the Raptors in 2016.

DeMar DeRozan bluntly explained why he is still a Spur

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As of now, it appears that DeMar DeRozan will begin the 2020-21 NBA season as a member of the San Antonio Spurs.

The Spurs could still trade DeRozan before the regular season opens in late-December, but that appears unlikely.

DeRozan met with reporters on Saturday, December 5. According to the San Antonio Express-News, DeRozan provided a blunt explanation for why he returned to San Antonio.

“I wasn’t satisfied with how we ended the season…I’ve never run from a challenge. For me, it was unfinished business.”

San Antonio ended last season at 32-39, their first losing record since the 1996-97 campaign. That was also the last time the Spurs missed the postseason, a streak that also broke a season ago.

DeRozan and the Spurs are scheduled to begin preseason play on Saturday, December 12, against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Barring any postponements, the Spurs’ first regular-season game is Wednesday, December 23, at Ja Morant and the Memphis Grizzlies.

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