Raptors Fire Head Coach Dwane Casey

The Raptors have fired head coach Dwane Casey, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The move had been anticipated, with reports earlier this week indicating that Toronto was leaning toward making a coaching change. The club has issued a press release confirming its decision.

“After careful consideration, I have decided this is a very difficult but necessary step the franchise must take. As a team, we are constantly trying to grow and improve in order to get to the next level,” Raptors president Masai Ujiri said in a statement. “We celebrate everything Dwane has done for the organization, we thank him, and we wish him nothing but the best in future. He was instrumental in creating the identity and culture of who we are as a team, and we are so proud of that.”

Although it’s not a total surprise, it’s still remarkable that Casey will be looking for a new job just one month after he finished the regular season with a 59-23 record, establishing a new Raptors franchise record for wins in a season. On Wednesday, the National Basketball Coaches Association announced that Casey was its pick for Coach of the Year; he’s a strong candidate to also win the official award, which is voted on by media members.

Casey, who took over as the Raptors’ head coach in 2011, is the winningest coach in team history, leading the club to a 320-238 (.573) regular season record during his tenure. The Raps have enjoyed the best run in franchise history during the last five years, winning between 48 and 59 games each season and making five straight postseason appearances.

However, despite their regular season success, the Raptors have struggled to make deep playoff runs. After consecutive first-round exits in 2014 and 2015, Toronto has won at least one series in each season since then, but have been unable to mount a serious challenge against the Cavaliers, winning just two total postseason contests in three years against Cleveland. The Raptors were swept out of the playoffs by the Cavs in the Eastern Conference Semifinals this spring.

While we’ll have to wait to see how expansive the Raptors’ search for a new head coach is, the team has a pair of strong internal candidates in assistant Nick Nurse and Raptors 905 head coach Jerry Stackhouse. Assistant coach Rex Kalamian could also receive consideration.

As for outside candidates, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer (Twitter link) says to keep an eye on Mike Budenholzer, sources tell Wojnarowski that the former Hawks head coach will likely get a “close inspection” from the Raptors.

Casey’s dismissal may also have an impact on other head coaching searches around the NBA. The Magic continue to seek out a new head coach, and former Raptors GM Jeff Weltman is currently the head of basketball operations in Orlando, so he knows Casey well. Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press notes (via Twitter) that the Pistons had been monitoring the Casey situation in Toronto, so they could have interest as well.

Casey had one year left on his contract, worth $6MM, Wojnarowski notes.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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44 thoughts on “Raptors Fire Head Coach Dwane Casey

  1. cjmask

    Nick Nurse stepping in? Or Stackhouse. Personally I’d prefer Stackhouse.

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  2. Alex Graboyes

    How the hell has this happen. Bucks please hire him

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    • cjmask

      Something had to change. Either Lowry, Derozan, or Ibaka being traded OR the coach. He was a great coach, sad to see him go and I am certain he will have little difficulty getting a job in the NBA for next year.

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      • Victor Gunzales

        they should of kept casey… they will not win 59 games next year … they should of moved lowry and ibaka… signed some guys with stones like Rondo or Stephenson maybe make a push for Kwahi.

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        • ThePriceWasRight

          not too many teams do win 59 games in multiple seasons.

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        • cjmask

          And not too many teams wants Lowry and Ibaka with the contracts that come along with them.

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  3. khines939

    Cause a black coach don’t stand a chance if a black coach is winning he can still lose his job that’s a damn shame

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    • Neil5611

      Pretty sure he was black when hired as is the GM I believe

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      • yoyo137

        Yup, GM is Nigerian. And if they do hire a white coach, it’s gonna be Nick Nurse who is already in the organization. If they hire a black coach, it’s gonna be Jerry Stackhouse. Who is also already in the organization.

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    • yoyo137

      Yeah this ain’t it man… He had plenty of chances to win with this team. And he’ll probably be replaced by another black coach. Coaches get fired in the NBA if you don’t make the playoffs or past a certain point in the playoffs. David Blatt got fired with the best record in the league for Ty Lue who had no experience. ANY coach can lose their job even if they’re winning. If you want racial inequality in your sports, stick to the NFL.

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      • TwinsHomer

        What a foolish ignorant comment… the Minnesota Wilds GM (he’s white) was fired after 8 consecutive postseason appearances. Anyone can be fired at any time.

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      • Reflect

        But he did win. They had the best record in the east. That’s literally what winning means.

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        • yoyo137

          When did I say he didn’t win? I said “coaches get fired if you don’t make the playoffs or make it past a certain point in the playoffs” learn how to read before you come at me with that. Then I brought up that David Blatt got fired WHILE WINNING because they couldn’t get past a certain point in the playoffs! Not once did I say he didn’t win games.

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        • 2012orioles

          Winning in sports isn’t winning your conference. Look at how much scrutiny great players and teams get for not winning the championship. Lebron for the longest time and still today gets heat for not winning, Kershaw, Peyton manning for a while, ovechkin/capitals… you’re not gonna get rid of the great player, so you’ll change coaches to try to get the best out of the players

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          • Reflect

            Yeah but that scrutiny comes from the media and stupid fans. The GM is supposed to be smarter than that. Plus, the team is clearly flawed.

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    • ErnestoFigueroa87

      It must suck to live with a mentality that everything is about race.
      Even Play-Doh.

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      • yoyo137

        A lot of things in America are about race. Like housing discrimination, people caling the cops on you for sitting in a starbucks doing nothing, black NFL players who protest being blackballed. So it’s easy to see where anything can become about race. Maybe if there wasn’t rampant racism in America, that wouldn’t be the case.

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  4. wright0525

    Let’s go Pistons!!!!! Hire him today…no interviews needed!!!

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  5. acarneglia

    Maybe Casey will go reunite with Terrence Ross and Bismack Biyombo in Orlando

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  6. brewers214

    Toronto has a good team but there best 2 players in Lowry and DeRozan are not superstars they are good ALL star players that are getting paid like superstars you have superstars like GREEK FREEK, James Harden and king James that can tack over game’s by themselves Toronto has the talent to be a top team in the east but but Coach Casey did a great job with what he had available to him and for Toronto to be in the running for a championship they need to get younger and have to upgrade there roster a change at HC will do nothing for them and it would not surprise me if it hurts the Raptors next year

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    • hiflew

      I think it is a bit early to put Giannis in the mix. His team barely snuck into the playoffs and didn’t do much once they got it other than lose to a team missing its top 2 players.

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  7. nathans

    This is an incredibly stupid move by the Toronto Raptors… Dwayne Casey is an excellent coach and I seriously another coach will be able to even duplicate or exceed what Casey has done with this team.

    I am sure Casey will become an assistant coach with Rick Carlisle in Dallas until he gets another opportunity.

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    • ThePriceWasRight

      why is this stupid. I don’t think the raptors believe he is a bad coach nor anyone else for that matter. But certain coaches just can’t take the players he has past a certain point and that point was reached with Casey. if you thinking sticking with a good coach because he can win in the regular season is a good idea, welcome to the 2016 and 2017 Toronto raptors

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      • nathans

        Casey has taken the Raptors from one of the worst teams in the NBA with 23 wins in 2011 to one of the best with 56,51, and 59 the last three seasons. The Raptors will take a step back next year with whoever they hire.

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        • ThePriceWasRight

          Maybe so. again I’m not arguing that. But what this front office has seen is a coach who is good but can’t coach a team passed the Cavaliers. Why keeps coach where you know that making the playoffs is as far as you will get?

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          • hiflew

            Because he is better than a potential replacement. And since you bring up the Cavs, why fire him right before LeBron probably leaves the Cavs?

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              • hiflew

                The same way you know he will never get any farther than this, I guess.

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                • yoyo137

                  Speaking of the Cavs, consider this. David Blatt loses in the Finals, gets fired, replaced by Ty Lue, who wins a championship. Sometimes you just need to shake things up and players need to hear a different voice. Hitting that same wall year after year after year, they probably expect to lose to the Cavs. That’s what it seemed like. Plus the fact Nick Nurse is getting all the credit for the wildly praised offensive changes they made this year suggests that Casey was losing his voice in the locker room anyway or that a new voice would be warmly welcomed.

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  8. Meadowlark

    nathans said it best, and you have to feel sorry for whomever succeeds Casey. 59 wins and an appearance in the second round is the benchmark to meet or exceed. My goodness, that’s a tall order.

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    • ThePriceWasRight

      not really. a new coach could come in and get 50 wins but if they can get to a final or win, it will have been a success. You don’t run a team thinking “hay I’m looking for a coach that can take my team to the playoffs.” You want a coach who can lead your team to a title.

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  9. Kenleyfornia74

    This is no outrage. Raptors constantly underperform in the playoffs. They just got swept as a 1 seed. They have plenty of reason to fire him

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  10. nathans

    My hometown Mavericks have not won a playoff series in the seven years after they won in the Finals and Rick Carlisle is not going anywhere….He is rebuilding the team and he will be competing in the West after this upcoming season. The Raptors let go a coach on the level of Rick Carlisle and they will regret it; Lebron and the Cavaliers will not be there forever.

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    • hiflew

      Your answer to everything is for a team to tank. The more teams that tank, the less effective the strategy would be. Not to mention that the league would basically be a joke. 1 or 2 teams doing it sucks for THEIR fans. 10 teams doing it, including the #1 seed in the East, hurts the entire league. Championships are nice, but they are the only way to define a successful franchise.

      The Knicks and Heat in the 90s could never beat MJ, but they were still both very successful franchises. Trading off Oakley and Ewing in order to get the #1 pick would have left the Knicks with a lot fewer wins and Michael Olowakandi. Tanking is not the answer.

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      • Z-A

        Teams have been tanking for years. Just not publicly open about it. At least 5 or 6 teams a year.

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      • Z-A

        Spurs tanked and got Duncan. Cavs tanked to get LeBron. Sonics/Thunder tanked and landed Westbrook 4th. Sometimes teams tank just to not give up a draft pick. It’s not a novel concept. But they need to blow up this roster. Backcourt and highest paid players made up of 2 head cases. Ibaka and Valancunis can play together. Doesn’t have to be a full blow up, but they need to make some moves.

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