The Toronto Raptors had a really great season even though they were swept in the second round of the NBA Playoffs, but fans are already looking ahead to the future. As one would expect, the organization is also looking ahead to the future, but it’s one that doesn’t include head coach Dwane Casey. After seven seasons with the team and being named the “Coach of the Year” for this season, the team has chosen to move in a different direction and fired him on Friday morning.
In what can only be seen as a shocking move to almost everyone, the Raptors informed Casey of their decision on Friday morning, according to ESPN.
His firing comes less than a week after Toronto suffered its second straight second-round exit at the hands of LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Raptors led the Eastern Conference this season with a record of 59-23, and they won their first-round playoff series against the Washington Wizards in impressive fashion at 4-2.
The move also comes just two days after Dwane Casey was voted “Coach of the Year” for the 2017-18 season after a vote by the National Basketball Coaches Association. According to the NY Times, Casey is still one of the frontrunners to win the award from the NBA as well.
ESPN story on Toronto dismissing Dwane Casey as coach. https://t.co/wPe830oKef
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) May 11, 2018
Despite the success that Casey has brought to the Toronto Raptors’ organization, they simply felt it was time to move on. Casey had one year remaining on his contract and it is worth $6 million. Throughout his time as head coach, the Raptors have improved their number of wins each season, but that still wasn’t enough to keep his job.
Statement from Raptors president Masai Ujiri on Coach Dwane Casey’s firing: pic.twitter.com/FT4m0tSfEr
— Jeff Zillgitt (@JeffZillgitt) May 11, 2018
The 59 victories this year is a franchise record for the Toronto Raptors who also landed the number one seed in the Eastern Conference. ESPN believes that while former Atlanta Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer will receive a close look from the Raptors, Casey should end up being contacted by a number of teams.
League sources have also told ESPN that assistant coach Nick Nurse and G League coach Jerry Stackhouse will be seen as a consideration for the Raptors’ head coaching job.
For the last six seasons, Casey has led the Toronto Raptors as their head coach and continued to improve the team in almost every single area. For the 2017-18 season, he was named the “Coach of the Year” by his peers and had the best record in the Eastern Conference, but it simply wasn’t enough. After losing to one of the best players in NBA history and being swept out of the playoffs, the Raptors felt it was time for him to go, but he likely won’t be out of work long.