Locker clean-out: DeRozan calls this ‘lowest feeling I’ve had,’ credits Casey for growth

This was a little sad.

DeMar DeRozan spoke with media after completing his end-of-season physical on Tuesday. Here’s a quick look at some of what he had to say.

You can check out comments from Fred VanVleet and C.J. Miles here, as well as a note on Dwane Casey’s job status.

(There’s plenty of analysis coming in the coming days and weeks, it’s just easier on a day like today to cover everything lightly and dig in deeper later on. Masai Ujiri and [maybe] Dwane Casey will speak at a later date.)

On the flight home last night:

“Terrible. It was a lot of self reflecting, team reflecting, just a terrible feeling of when reality hits you that tomorrow you won’t be preparing for work, so to speak…For me, my nine years being in the league, this is probably the toughest, most frustrating, difficult, lowest feeling I’ve had.

When you get knocked down so many times you build up this frustration that you want to withstand anything. You get to that point to where you stand firm through everything and you feel like you can’t get knocked down again and you realize you do get knocked down again. It’s kind of the worst feeling. I think that’s what we all felt last year, you know. Here we had a great year, did a lot of great things, but that’s you standing up strong feeling like you can’t get knocked down and you get knocked down.”

On the Cavs, and speed bumps:

“Honestly, Cleveland. That’s the only speed bump we’ve hit the last three years that’s derailed us. So…

Beat ’em. Or don’t play ’em. Like I said, it’s never about avoiding somebody but we came up against Cleveland three times in a row. Who is to say what would’ve happened if we came up against somebody different last year. Anything could have happened. So many things. But the fact of the matter is we came across Cleveland three years in a row and we just couldn’t get past them.

As a competitor, we want to go up against that because the story is sweeter once you dethrone a great like that. Any of the great teams, individuals, want to compete against a guy like that. To have the opportunity to say I stopped you, or I knocked you off. Anybody that says they want to sit up here and avoid a certain player of that stature, shouldn’t play in the game. You want to go against that. And we had three opportunities at that and didn’t have the success that we all wanted. It sucks but with that you definitely never want to shy away from that opportunity.”

On the status of Dwane Casey:

“I never, since I’ve been here, in my nine years I’ve never gotten involved in that side of it, honestly. I can honestly say that. My job is to always come back better next year. I just do my job, and that’s to come back better. There’s never been a question about that and I never question anything else.I let upper management handle that, honestly. I know a lot of guys say that, but I really do.

I can speak for my career, I’ve been with Casey seven years. He put the trust in me, he believed in me, he let me be a 21-year-old kid going out there, playing freely. A lot of my success, all of my success, I have to credit Casey. No matter what, I’m always going to have the utmost respect when it comes to Coach Casey, without a doubt.”

On using this as summer motivation (he won’t tell us what he’s adding to his game next):

“I probably won’t watch basketball for awhile, but this feeling, for sure, I will let it marinate. Just let it marinate for sure because that’s the drive, that’s the hunger, that’s the motivation that I find within myself to come back better, next year. For me I’m just, the feeling I felt last night, I will feel the same tomorrow, the next day, next day, the next day. Probably won’t feel it, my daughter’s birthday is next Saturday, so I can’t feel it Saturday, but Sunday, Monday, days after that, I’ll feel it, until I can suppress this feeling until I can get back in the gym.”

On finding belief for 2018-19 from here:

“There’s always belief. I always look at life, not just basketball, the toughest things you go through will turn you into something greater than you could have ever imagined. Whether you believe it in that moment or not. For me I always just have that belief, I don’t know how, I don’t know why, I just always had that belief of the more crap you go through, the stronger and more resilient you’re going to be down the line.”