Even though he's no longer on the team, DeMar DeRozan's impact on the Toronto Raptors is not lost on Kyle Lowry.
"He gave everything," Lowry responded when asked why DeRozan still means so much to the city of Toronto. "He was the guy that said 'I got us' when [Chris Bosh] left and he re-signed here and helped take the organization to new heights - from not winning to winning and winning big.
"I think he poured it all into the city. I think what the city saw was a kid that came in that was 19 years old and until the age of 28 gave a lot. That was the big thing. He gave the city a lot and the city has seen him grow from a boy to being a man."
VOTE HERE FOR THE 2020 NBA ALL-STARS
The Raptors selected DeRozan with the ninth overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft. The team won 40 games in DeRozan's rookie season, but Bosh's decision to sign with the Miami Heat as a free agent in summer of 2010 set the franchise back a few years, with Toronto winning only 32.1 percent of its games between 2010 and 2013.
Don't worry, I got us...- DeMar DeRozan (@DeMar_DeRozan) June 29, 2010
The Raptors returned to the playoffs in 2013-14, a season in which DeRozan was named an All-Star for the first time in his career. Not long after, they made the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time in franchise history, followed by winning a franchise-best 59 games before coming up short in the second round of the 2018 playoffs.
It was then when DeRozan was traded to the San Antonio Spurs for a package headlined by Kawhi Leonard. The rest is history.
MORE: Can the Raptors slow down DeRozan and the Spurs?
In total, DeRozan spent nine seasons with the Raptors. He averaged 19.7 points, 4.1 rebounds and 3.1 during those seasons, numbers that helped him earn four All-Star selections, one All-NBA Second Team selection and one All-NBA Third Team selection.
Sunday's matchup between the Raptors and Spurs will be DeRozan's only game in Toronto this season.
In his return to Toronto last season, DeRozan finished with 23 points, eight assists and four rebounds in a losing effort. In San Antonio's other game against his former team last season, DeRozan led the Spurs to victory with the first triple-double of his career.
The views expressed here do not represent those of the NBA or its clubs.