Almost a Raptor

FRANK ZICARELLI -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:45 AM ET

Damon Stoudamire admits the notion of returning to Toronto crossed his mind when the Memphis Grizzlies bought out the point guard's contract.

During the Raptors' early years, Stoudamire was the on-court face of the franchise.

Off the court, Mighty Mouse developed several relationships he maintains to this day.

But the allure of winning a championship was too tempting, hence Stoudamire's decision to sign with the reigning NBA champion San Antonio Spurs.

"I want to win a ring," Stoudamire said before last night's tip. "I enjoyed my time here, but the Spurs give me a chance to win a championship."

Stoudamire did come close to that elusive title when he was the starting point guard for the Portland Trail Blazers in 2000.

The team he ran was loaded with the likes of Scottie Pippen, and Rasheed Wallace, to name a few, but Portland lost to eventual champion L.A. Lakers in seven games in the Western Conference final.

When he joined the Spurs, Stoudamire started at the point for an injured Tony Parker.

For the second game in a row, Stoudamire came off the bench last night.

The ACC crowd, which used to boo Stoudamire lustily, cheered when he entered the game in the first quarter.

MIKED UP

Sam Mitchell offered a few words of advice for Mike Evans, who filled in for Mitchell last night.

"Sam just told me to do what I got to do and be yourself," Evans said. "That's Sam. Everyone on this team is all on the same page."

Mitchell was forced to return to his home in Atlanta following the death of his father in law.

Evans joined the Raptors' coaching staff this season after spending the past four years working for the franchise in a scouting capacity.


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