The Raptors made a difficult decision to fire head coach Dwane Casey today, and according to Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca, there were three areas over the years where the club felt that Casey was lacking.
Two of those three areas were related to his in-game adjustments (or lack thereof) and his tendency to stick with a “tried and true” approach rather than attempting new methods. As Grange observes, the Raptors’ new-look offense in 2017/18 was a top-down directive that was implemented with significant input from assistant coach Nick Nurse, rather than something Casey initiated himself.
The third factor in the Raptors’ decision involves stars Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan. According to Grange, the franchise hopes to find a head coach more “determined” to push those two players out of their comfort zones. Grange suggests that there was some frustration within the organization that DeRozan wasn’t held accountable frequently enough for his defensive lapses.
Grange’s piece includes several more interesting tidbits on the Raptors’ decision-making process and what led the team to this point, so it’s worth reading in full. Here’s more out of Toronto:
- During his press conference this afternoon, Raptors president Masai Ujiri denied a report that Casey had requested a contract extension before he was fired (Twitter link via Ryan Wolstat of The Toronto Sun). Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today first reported that Casey had sought an extension, with Grange confirming separately that Casey was seeking a two-year deal.
- Although Ujiri said today that there’s no timetable for the Raptors to hire a new head coach, league sources suggested to Grange that it likely won’t take long for the team to find Casey’s replacement.
- According to Ujiri, the Raptors will consider experienced candidates as well as younger coaches. “We’ll look everywhere,” he said, per Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca (Twitter link). Current assistants like Nick Nurse and Rex Kalamian remain with the franchise for now, with Ujiri suggesting some of them could get interviews for the head coaching job.
- Earlier this afternoon, we asked you whether firing Casey was the right decision by the Raptors. Place your vote and join the discussion right here.
- On a non-coaching note, Raptors center Jonas Valanciunas has committed to playing for Lithuania during this summer’s FIBA 2019 World Cup qualifiers, according to FIBA.basketball.