ATLANTA, Ga. - Former Hawks forward DeMarre Carroll downplayed his return to Philips Arena Wednesday saying it's "Just another game to me."
Carroll spent four seasons with four different teams before finding a home in Atlanta in 2013. He became a fan favorite, playing his trademark gritty defense helping the Hawks win 60 games for the first time in franchise history and earn a spot in the Eastern Conference Finals last season. Still, the "Junkyard Dog" has no regrets about signing a four-year, $60 million contract with the Toronto Raptors in the offseason.
""I'm Happy to be with Toronto." Carroll said during a 10 minute media session after practice. "My role is upgraded. They (Raptors) asked me to do more, not only on the defensive end, but on the offensive end."
So far in 2015 he's averaging 13 points per game, just slightly above his 2014 average in Atlanta. Carroll's playing more minutes with the Raptors, roughly four minutes more per game than he did while suiting up for the Hawks. Tonight Carroll will defend good friend and former Hawks' teammate Paul Millsap for the first time in a Raptors uniform.
"We haven't gotten to that trash talking part yet." Millsap said, We just can't wait to see the Hawks play the Raptors."
Hawks head coach Mike Budenholzer said Carroll was a "joy to be around." and that he looked forward to speaking with his former player AFTER the game.
The Hawks and Raptors tip off at Philips Arena at 8pm.