It has been less than 24 hours since the Raptors’ 2017/18 season came to an end, so the team is still evaluating its offseason options. However, sources tell Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca that the club is “strongly” leaning toward making a head coaching change and replacing Dwane Casey.
According to Lewenberg, if the Raptors do elect to part ways with Casey, it won’t be an indictment of his skills as a coach or what he has accomplished during his seven years with the franchise. After being eliminated from the postseason by the Cavaliers for a third straight year though, there’s a sense that it’s time for a “new direction and a different voice,” per Lewenberg.
Casey, who took over as the Raptors’ head coach in 2011, is the winningest coach in team history, leading the club to a 373-307 (.549) 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 year since then, but have been unable to mount a serious challenge against the Cavs, winning just two total postseason contests in three years against Cleveland.
If the Raptors make a coaching change, there are several internal candidates to take over, including Nick Nurse, Jerry Stackhouse, and Rex Kalamian, notes Lewenberg. Ryan Wolstat of The Toronto Sun, who also hears that the team is leaning toward replacing Casey, tweets that Nurse may be the favorite. However, Toronto may also prefer someone with more head coaching experience, as Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca tweets.
Lewenberg expects the Raptors to make a decision soon, which would give Casey a chance to interview for other jobs if he moves on from Toronto.