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'I know San Antonio has a lot of love for him' | Spurs' Jones, Richardson speak on ex-Spur DeMar DeRozan

DeRozan returns to San Antonio with a chance to reach an incredible career milestone against his former team.

SAN ANTONIO — For three seasons, DeMar DeRozan put on the Silver and Black uniform and was a consummate pro as a member of the San Antonio Spurs.

And tonight, he'll make his lone visit to the Alamo City.

The Spurs will host the Bulls at the AT&T Center where you can expect the fans and his former team to give him a warm welcome back.

Following a trade from Toronto to San Antonio in 2018, DeRozan excelled on the floor posting 21.6 points per game while leading the team in assists with 6.2 per game along with 49 percent shooting.

Guard Tre Jones had the opportunity to play his rookie season with the former Spur and has nothing but fond memories of teaming up with DeRozan.

"Luckily, I got the chance to play with him one year," Jones said. "The amount of respect he has is all earned. He's a great teammate. He treats everybody the same from top to bottom. He really cares about winning and that's it."

Credit: AP
San Antonio Spurs forward DeMar DeRozan (10) looks to pass the ball as New York Knicks forward Reggie Bullock (25) and center Nerlens Noel (3) defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game in San Antonio, Tuesday, March 2, 2021. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Jones recalls how much he learned from DeRozan when it comes to preparing for the game and understands why he is such a great player.

"To be able to learn from him in my first year in the league and to see the work he put in, the preparation that he had," Jones said. "I see why he's had such a great career."

Josh Richardson never played with DeRozan in San Antonio or elsewhere but he recognizes just how much the fans still hold him in high esteem.

"Great player. I've always liked competing against him," Richardson said. "I know San Antonio has a lot of love for him for the years he spent here. 

It has been two years since he played in San Antonio but DeRozan has not forgotten how much Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich did for him during his time in San Antonio.

RELATED: Bulls' DeRozan credits Popovich for making him a complete player

"[Popovich] challenged me to the point of understanding the game in the complete whole," DeRozan said. "How to be a point guard. How to be a playmaker. How to dictate the game. How to move without the play. How to play without the ball. How not to turn over the ball."

Aside from the reunion, DeRozan has a chance to make history as he is just seven points shy of reaching 20,000 career points.

And he thinks it will be great to make history with Popovich watching.

"I wanted to save it for Pop," DeRozan said. "Going back to a place that I spent some time, learned so much from, a place that embraced me, wasn't nothing but love. And it was definitely a learning curve for me in my career at a critical time in my career and Pop really helped me a lot in my career. I think it'll be cool to be able to do it there."

The Bulls and Spurs tipoff tonight at 7:30 P.M. and you can watch the game and DeRozan's return on KENS 5.


Follow us on Twitter at @KENS5 and @JeffGSpursKENS5.

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