The Toronto Raptors front office has decided to hire from within for their head coaching search. Assistant coach, Nick Nurse, has been signed to a three-year, $10 million contract, according to ESPN. Nurse replaces Dwane Casey, who was fired after putting up 59 wins, a franchise best. The reason for Casey’s firing is likely being swept by the fourth seed Cleveland Cavaliers.
Nurse has a good resume. He was the NBA D-League Coach of the Year in 2011 and a two-time NBA D-League champion (2011, 2013). He was also a two-time British Basketball League champ (1996, 2000). Nurse joined the Raptors in 2013 as an assistant coach after winning his two D-League championships.
Toronto Raptors Promote Nick Nurse to Head Coach
The Raptors will introduce him as the new head coach on Thursday.
Casey was hired by the Detroit Pistons for their head coaching vacancy on Monday. According to Dave Feschuk, a Toronto Star columnist, there is no love lost between Casey and Nurse. “Nurse’s offence-forward suggestions were never fully heard nor understood,” says Feschuk, referencing the suggested changes during the abysmal matchup of the Raptors and LeBron James and the Cavaliers. Nurse is an offensively minded coach who will likely look to speed things up even more in the offense for next season.
The Raptors have had much success the past few years. They have finished in first in the division four out of the last 5 years. The year they didn’t, they finished second in the east. Even with a record of 263-147 (.802 win percentage) in that span, it wasn’t enough to spare Casey from losing his job.
Toronto or LeBronto?
In each of the past three years, the Raptors have faced the Cleveland Cavaliers in the playoffs. The results were grim. The team was swept the last two years. The season before, they went 4-2 the season before, it was decided that a change was needed in the coaching staff.
Nurse will look to elevate the success the Raptors have had and hopefully get the elusive NBA Finals berth Toronto has been salivating over.