DeMar DeRozan and Kawhi Leonard have a complicated history. As the centerpieces in the blockbuster trade between the San Antonio Spurs and Toronto Raptors, they’ll forever be intertwined in NBA lore.
DeRozan went from competitor to fan as he witnessed Kawhi Leonard dominate his matchup against Luka Doncic on Friday night. The Spurs star didn’t even need any words to express his amazement for what he had witnessed:
— DeMar DeRozan (@DeMar_DeRozan) June 5, 2021
Kawhi Leonard put up a monster 45-point performance to buoy the Clippers to a decisive Game 7 in Los Angeles. The former Spurs cornerstone outgunned his Mavs counterpart, who finished with a relatively pedestrian 29 points, at least by Doncic’s usual standards.
There will always be discussions around DeMar DeRozan and Kawhi Leonard, especially given their championship run that Leonard led after he was traded away from the Raptors, a franchise he helped build back up himself. But the Spurs veteran has long emphasized that he had nothing but happiness for his former team when things finally went their way without him.
The Spurs star cleared all that up way back in 2019, in case anyone needed reminding:
“We all human. We all feel some type of way, when you see a previous situation you were part of accomplish something great that you were after when you were there, of course. But, at the same time, the relationship I have with a lot of those guys, I was happy. Good for them. Happy for them. I spent a lot of time with a few of them guys this offseason. It was good for them.
I spent nine years of my basketball career there. Even at times when I see pictures seeing my jersey on the crowd, you are there somehow. You got to be happy with that.”
DeMar DeRozan, on what it was like watching Toronto celebrate a championship the summer after he was dealt away: pic.twitter.com/lwcdUxJIR3
— Jeff McDonald (@JMcDonald_SAEN) September 30, 2019
For now, DeMar DeRozan remains with the San Antonio Spurs and is intently observing the NBA Playoffs as a spectator. It remains to be seen what the future holds for the four-time All-Star.