Reporting in the wake of Nick Nurse‘s dismissal on Friday indicated that Ime Udoka would be one of the candidates the Raptors seriously consider to become their next head coach. Shams Charania of The Athletic confirms Toronto’s interest in Udoka and adds a couple more names to the team’s possible list of targets, writing that Patrick Mutombo and Jerry Stackhouse may receive consideration.
Mutombo, currently an assistant on Monty Williams‘ staff in Phoenix, was on the Raptors’ coaching staff from 2016-20 and coached the team’s G League affiliate (Raptors 905) from 2020-22 before joining the Suns last offseason.
Stackhouse also has an existing relationship with the Raptors, having been an assistant with the team in 2015/16 and the Raptors 905 head coach from 2016-18. He spent a season as an assistant coach with the Grizzlies in 2018/19 and has been the head coach at Vanderbilt since 2019. Stackhouse has also been mentioned as a possible candidate for the Pistons’ head coaching vacancy, though there has been no indication that he’ll interview for that position.
Here’s more on the Raptors and their newly opened head coaching job:
- Some people in the Raptors organization were surprised by Friday’s news on Nurse, according to Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca, who says Nurse and team president Masai Ujiri met four teams in the nine days after Toronto’s season ended. That level of communication is unusual for a team about to let go of a head coach, but Ujiri felt the Raptors needed a new voice and Nurse “welcomed the change,” says Lewenberg.
- Raptors management had some questions about Nurse’s style of communication, Lewenberg writes, noting that the head coach had a habit of calling out players publicly without talking to them privately first. Following a bad loss in December, Nurse held closed-door meetings with some players and staffers that Lewenberg hears were “intense” and “confrontational.” Nurse also had a “tense” relationship with one assistant coach after telling him not to accompany the team on a road trip in January, Lewenberg adds.
- Observing that several Raptors players improved individually, but not collectively, Ujiri said on Friday that he expects to make changes in Toronto this offseason beyond hiring a new coach, per Lewenberg. “I think changes are going to be made on all fronts,” Ujiri said. “We’re going to address that with the team. We saw how different players on our team would rise, would do well, but we never did it collectively. Maybe that could be fit. Maybe that could be system, sometimes role orientation, sometimes accountability – all the things we are going to really look at it how our roster is built. We believe in the players we have. Whether it’s tweaks or major changes, we’re definitely going to look at everything.”