Despite his young age, DeMar DeRozan is a veteran now. But he had never lived through anything in his professional career such as the events of the past week.
Ahead of Friday's game against his hometown Los Angeles Clippers, DeRozan was still battling through the emotions of losing his close friend Ed Davis and a long-time teammate in Jose Calderon, while welcoming the man who should make his job easier, Rudy Gay.
DeRozan called his feelings "bittersweet." He was excited by the possibilities and the buzz Gay's arrival had created, but still mourning the departure of his pals and reflecting on how life had changed.
Seeing Davis head to a new NBA city has been particularly challenging. In fact, the two were texting each other pre-game.
"That was tough," DeRozan explained. "People don't realize me and Ed came up through high-school basketball together, camps, every single thing. I'm really close with his family and vice versa. It's always tough. I don't care who you are: If you get a close friend who gets traded, it's tough. It's something you've got to deal with."
DeRozan said he and Davis are moving on already, hard as that is.
"Ed's not the type of guy where you sit and tell him: 'Look, you've got to do this.' He understands what he has to do. He knows I'm there for him no matter what," DeRozan said.
In Calderon, DeRozan also sees a guy who was with him from the start in Toronto head somewhere else.
"That's probably the best teammate I ever had, ever, since I've been playing basketball," he said, emphasizing what Calderon has meant to him.
"Since I've been here, I've probably seen Jose get upset once. The positive attitude that he had and the advice he gave me day in and day out, even if I was struggling, it always helped to uplift me. That was the great thing about Jose. I credit a lot of my success to Jose, honestly."
Deal 'bittersweet' for DeMar DeRozan
Toronto Sun | Feb 2