For Dwane Casey and the Toronto Raptors, another bitter NBA playoff ouster at the hands of the Cleveland Cavaliers leads to some bruised emotions. This time the Raptors are thinking about making a drastic change.
TSN is reporting that the Toronto Raptors’ general manager Masai Ujiri is strongly leaning towards firing Dwane Casey. If the Raptors follow through with axing Casey as it is being cited, it would not be such a surprising move in the eyes of some.
There were great expectations for Dwane Casey and the Raptors in the postseason. After finishing with a 59-23 record, one that was the best in the Eastern Conference, losing to the Cavaliers was the furthest thought in anyone’s mind inside of the Raptors’ organization. Not only did the Raptors have home court advantage, but they also exorcised some demons defeating the Washington Wizards in the first round. Now the Raptors will watch from their homes, while Dwane Casey’s seat gets hot.
Despite having the previous two playoff appearances ended by the Cleveland Cavaliers, this was supposed to be a different year for the Toronto Raptors. Instead, the Raptors were swept. Now it appears that the end result will be Dwane Casey losing his job as Raptors’ head coach.
Guard DeMar DeRozan was coming off the best season of his career, the Raptors’ bench was the best in the NBA, and the confidence level was at an all-time high. However, losing to the Cavaliers after blowing a 10-point lead (courtesy of USA Today) late in the fourth quarter and losing Game 1, the good vibes disappeared quickly for Dwane Casey and the Raptors.
While there is no shame to losing to a playoff series to a LeBron-James-led Cleveland Cavaliers team, the Toronto Raptors looked lifeless during difficult stretches. All of the buttons Dwane Casey seems to press went for naught. Every answer the Cavaliers had, it appeared that Casey could not get his Raptors’ players to respond. Nothing was more evident of that than DeRozan getting ejected during the third quarter of a 32-point Game 4 loss.
Finding a replacement as good as Dwane Casey will not be easy. It is going to take a certain personality to help repair the psyche of the team. As currently constructed, the Raptors are a guard-oriented team built to play an up-tempo style. Many of the head coaching candidates which are available employ a grind-it-out style.
If the Toronto Raptors decide to move on from Dwane Casey, Mark Jackson’s name could jump to the top of the list. Another name to keep an eye on is Monty Williams.
If Williams does not get the Milwaukee Bucks’ job, he would be an ideal candidate for the Toronto Raptors’ vacancy if it does become available. Oklahoma City Thunder assistant head coach Adrian Griffin, David Blatt, and Sam Cassell may also get some consideration for the Raptors job.