DeRozan was traded to San Antonio in exchange for Kawhi Leonard in July 2018.
DeMar DeRozan hasn't appeared in a Raptors uniform since May 2018, but the leading scorer in Toronto history is still taking a piece of credit for his former team's run to the NBA Finals.
"If it wasn't for all the years and groundwork that I did before then, [Toronto's Finals run] wouldn't have been possible," DeRozan told Bleacher Report's Taylor Rooks on Tuesday. "I fought, I sacrificed. I pushed the limits to where I had to be the sacrificial lamb. You just have to sit back and understand, you are the reason so many things were even possible."
San Antonio's shooting guard noted he is still rooting for his former team against the Warriors, most notably his former teammate Kyle Lowry.
"People gotta understand like, my best friend is Kyle," DeRozan said. "So I'm rooting for my best friend, you know, to do well, to accomplish something that we tried to do all those years."
“I had to be the sacrificial lamb” @DeMar_DeRozan is still rooting for the Raptors in the Finals but explains why he was so hurt when the trade went down. Season finale of “Take It There” with @TaylorRooks https://t.co/CNL1gyPDtm pic.twitter.com/WKUtzvow29— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) June 4, 2019
DeRozan was traded from Toronto to San Antonio in July 2018 along with center Jakob Poeltl and a first-round pick. The Raptors received Kawhi Leonard in the deal along with shooting guard Danny Green.
Toronto is in its first Finals in franchise history, tied 1–1 with the Warriors prior to Game 3 on Wednesday night. Pascal Siakam powered the Raptors with 32 points in a Game 1 victory, but Steph Curry and the Warriors stormed back with a 104-99 win in Game 2 on Sunday.
DeRozan averaged 21.2 points per game in 2018-19 on 48.1% shooting. San Antonio finished seventh in the West at 48-34 before losing to the Nuggets in round one of the Western Conference playoffs.