Who will be the next head coach of the Toronto Raptors? Who will be tabbed to replace the recently axed (courtesy of the New York Post) Dwane Casey?
Those are the questions going forward for a 59-win Toronto Raptors team that had the best record in the Eastern Conference. Once the Raptors hire a head coach, the front office will begin pondering roster moves which compliments the coach’s preferred style of play.
Take one coaching candidate off the Toronto Raptors’ list.
There is a report that Mike Budenholzer, one of the front-runners for the Toronto Raptors’ vacancy, agreed to coach (courtesy of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel) the Milwaukee Bucks. Budenholzer’s decision now leaves Toronto looking elsewhere for a coaching hire. It pushes other candidates up the list.
News of the Bucks hiring Mike Budenholzer came around the same time former Raptors coach Dwane Casey was named a finalist (courtesy of Sportsnet) for NBA Coach of the Year. Timing could not be worse for the Raptors. Whoever the Toronto Raptors hire will have some lofty shoes to fill, regardless of Casey’s playoff record with the team.
On the positive side, there is an opportunity for another coaching candidate to establish themselves as the front-runner now that Mike Budenholzer is off the Raptors’ list.
According to Bleacher Report, the Toronto Raptors set up to interview assistants Nick Nurse and Rex Kalamian on Tuesday. The former may now be the favorite to land the Raptors’ job.
Choosing to stay in-house would not be a surprising direction for the Toronto Raptors to take. Nick Nurse, relatively unknown outside of basketball circles, is widely regarded across the NBA. Prior to Mike Budenholzer taking the Milwaukee Bucks’ position, Nurse was a candidate.
Much of Nick Nurse’s time coaching has been spent overseas. He has been an assistant coach with the Toronto Raptors for five seasons. If Nick Nurse is hired, continuity would be the focus for the Raptors.
Former NBA star Jerry Stackhouse also remains in the running for the Raptors’ coaching vacancy. His experience playing in the NBA would be viewed as beneficial, as would be his ability to enact a coaching philosophy centering around the Raptors’ players.
NBA head coaching experience does not appear to be a prerequisite for the Toronto Raptors. Besides Mike Budenholzer, the coaching candidates the Raptors have interviewed are potentially first-time coaches. There is a strong chance that one of those candidates will land the Raptors’ vacancy.