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DeRozan steals the show at Spurs Media Day

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With so many legendary Spurs stars no longer part of the team, Monday's annual Media Day was highlighted by new star DeMar DeRozan.

Acquired from Toronto in the Kawhi Leonard deal, DeRozan said he was overwhelmed by the reception he has received locally. Specifically, he gushed about a new mural that features his likeness.

"I thought it was fake," he said. "It was like 'who photo-shopped this?' After it went viral, I was like 'man, I hadn't even been here yet.' It gave me a good feeling that they love me like this already. It gives you an extra hunger for the fans."

Initially dismayed by the deal that made him a Spur, DeRozan said he's over the shock now.

"I'd be lying if I didn't say it was tough. But once I got past that, it was smooth ever since," he said.

DeRozan doesn't expect any problems sharing the ball with LaMarcus Aldridge.

"When it comes to basketball, it'll be figured out," he said. "I just want to win."

Aldridge agreed. "It's not on him to fit in," the Spurs' leading scorer said, noting coach Gregg Popovich will ensure that happens.

Popovich joked about DeRozan, a career 19.7 points per game scorer: "We're only going to play him on the defensive end," he said.

Since it was the first time he had addressed the local media after the death of his wife Erin last spring, Popovich used the occasion to thank everyone who reached out to him and his family. He was effusive in his praise of NBA personnel, Spurs staffers and especially fans, calling their support "indescribable" in helping him get through the grieving process.

"It was very, very much appreciated and it was a huge help. I want to thank all those people for that magnanimity and kindness," he said.

Switching back to basketball, and the absence of mainstays like Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Danny Green, Popovich was philosophical.

"In one way, it's a little bit melancholy. At the same time, it's a great opportunity for a new challenge," he said.

Ginobili, who announced his retirement several weeks ago, attended a recent Spurs coaching retreat to help plot strategy for the year, Popovich said.

"He was smart enough to listen in the beginning," Popovich said, noting Ginobili asked him "about 14 things I do, and why I do them."

Rather than talking politics or social issues, Popovich deflected the one question he was asked about mid-term elections coming up. "Every day is interesting," was his lone comment on the subject.

Starting point guard Dejounte Murray said he is excited about training camp commencing. He wants to continue to grow as a team leader too.

"I'm the guy who speaks how I feel. I'm willing to lead. I'm ready for whatever role Pop wants me to have," he said.

Aldridge, the first player to address the media Monday at the team's practice facility, had fun with the several dozen reporters in the room. Asked what he did all summer, Aldridge replied "I just stayed at home and ate."

He also echoed the company line on life after the Leonard-created circus of 2017-18.

"It's gone now," he said of the drama. "We're happy to turn the page. DeMar's here now."

Now the work begins as the countdown to Oct. 17, opening day at home vs. Minnesota, begins.

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DeMar DeRozan is meeting with the media now:



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Dejounte Murray says the team is going into training camp with no drama.

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Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge kicked off Spurs Media Day by saying he's looking forward to playing with an all-new Spurs team.


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