The Raptors have interviewed Zalgiris head coach Sarunas Jasikevicius for their open head coaching job, league sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). A former NBA player, Jasikevicius spoke to Toronto president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri about the Raps’ vacancy, Wojnarowski adds.
Although he spent most of his playing career in Europe, Jasikevicius appeared in a total of 138 NBA regular season games for the Pacers and Warriors from 2005 to 2007. He played for European clubs before and after his NBA stint, finishing his career in 2014 with Lithuania’s Zalgiris.
Upon retiring, Jasikevicius immediately transitioned into an assistant coaching role for his Lithuanian team. During the 2015/16, he was named the interim head coach before eventually being promoted to the permanent role in January of 2016. Zalgiris made a surprise run to the EuroLeague Final Four this year, winning the third-place game over CSKA Moscow last month.
Jasikevicius’ name hadn’t come up at all during NBA head coaching searches this spring, so the Raptors are deviating from the league’s usual list of coaching candidates by considering the 42-year-old Lithuanian.
As our tracker shows, Toronto’s search for Dwane Casey‘s replacement had primarily focused on in-house candidates and Spurs assistants, with Jerry Stackhouse, Nick Nurse, Rex Kalamian, Ettore Messina, and Ime Udoka receiving consideration. Jasikevicius is an intriguing new name to add to that group.