As the Spurs spent the past two days ramping up for their return to the court, they did so with heavy hearts knowing their leading scorer and playmaker was away from the team in mourning.
DeMar DeRozan announced Friday in an Instagram post that his father, Frank, had died after a lengthy illness.
“You hate to see it,” Spurs guard Patty Mills said after Tuesday’s practice. “It impacts the entire team, the entire organization. Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family.”
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich was asked how DeRozan was doing after the club announced he would not be available for Wednesday night’s game at Oklahoma City for personal reasons.
“As well as anyone would expect when you lose a parent,” Popovich said. “It’s a difficult situation. But I’ve been in touch with him. He is a very mature, kind man, and he is doing what he needs to do with his family right now.”
DeRozan missed two games in mid-January to be with his father. After returning to the team, he produced three points-assists double-doubles and four games of 29 or more points during a 16-game stretch that ended Feb. 16 when the Spurs went on a coronavirus-forced hiatus that resulted in four postponed games.
Mills praised DeRozan for continuing to come to work and “give his 110 percent every night.”
“People can only imagine what someone like that is going through,” Mills said. “It’s a…