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Sports Dave Feschuk: Raptors expected to reveal Casey’s successor this week

05:06  12 june  2018
05:06  12 june  2018 Source:   thestar.com

Report: Nurse remains frontrunner for Raptors' head coaching vacancy

  Report: Nurse remains frontrunner for Raptors' head coaching vacancy The Toronto Raptors are leaning towards assistant Nick Nurse as the favorite to land their vacant head coaching job, league sources told TSN's Josh Lewenberg. Nurse has already been interviewed for the post, and a report last month indicated the Raptors were taking a close look at promoting the 50-year-old. Toronto continues to talk to other candidates, reportedly including Lithuanian coach Sarunas Jasikevicius most recently. The Raptors fired Dwane Casey on May 11, four days after the Cleveland Cavaliers completed a second-round sweep of an uninspired Raps squad.

Either way, Dwane Casey , now coach of the Detroit Pistons, will be a hard act to follow, Dave Feschuk writes. But thankfully, the announcement of which candidate will ultimately inhabit the gig is expected this week .

Dave Feschuk : Raptors expected to reveal Casey ’ s successor this week . NBA sources will tell you it’s down to a two-man race between San Antonio assistant Ettore Messina and Casey ’ s former assistant Nick Nurse.

Assistant Nick Nurse, right, is reportedly on the two-man short list of candidates to replace Dwane Casey, centre, as head coach of the Raptors, with assistant Rex Kalamian on board.© Tom Szczerbowski Assistant Nick Nurse, right, is reportedly on the two-man short list of candidates to replace Dwane Casey, centre, as head coach of the Raptors, with assistant Rex Kalamian on board.

It’s been more than a month since the Toronto Raptors fired Dwane Casey as their head coach.

And while Monday saw Casey land his next gig, agreeing to a five-year deal to coach the Detroit Pistons, Raptors president Masai Ujiri was still taking his time in the presumable lead-up to announcing Casey’s successor.

Remember how a choked-up Ujiri characterized Casey’s axing as “the hardest thing” he’d ever done in his life? It appears hiring Casey’s replacement, given how long it’s taken, is proving perhaps even more difficult, albeit for different reasons. If the decision to axe Casey was at least partly emotional, filling his seat has proven interminable. At least seven coaches have been interviewed. Who knows how many more were spit-balled. But thankfully, the announcement of which candidate will ultimately inhabit the gig is expected this week.

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Raptors expected to reveal Casey ’ s successor this week | The Star. Either way, Dwane Casey , now coach of the Detroit Pistons, will be a hard act to follow, Dave Feschuk writes.

The Raptors could soon join suit, as Josh Lewenberg of TSN.com and Dave Feschuk of the Toronto Star both report the team is expected to name a coach sometime in the next week or two. Whom the Raptors hire to fill Casey ' s spot, Feschuk writes, remains up in the air at this point

Whoever takes the helm — and league sources will tell you it’s down to a two-man race between San Antonio assistant Ettore Messina and Casey’s former assistant Nick Nurse — we can be sure of one thing: Casey will serve as a difficult act to follow.

Whatever happens with a roster that’s definitely due for change this summer, Toronto’s new head coach will be judged against Casey’s work. And Casey’s work, seen in its sum, has been impressive. He’s already been voted the NBA’s coach of the year by his peers; he’s the favourite to win the media-voted version of the honour at the NBA awards gala on June 25. A sweep of both awards would be deserved. Toronto’s 59-win regular season — a mark that gave them the Eastern Conference’s No. 1 seed for the first time in franchise history — was an awfully compelling endorsement of a bench boss who navigated a Ujiri-mandated offensive transformation while skilfully integrating a young bench. And it speaks to his reputation around the league that he landed a new challenge so quickly — a development that will take Toronto off the hook for the final year of Casey’s contract, a savings of about $6.5 million U.S.

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Let’ s just say it’ll be a surprise if Dwane Casey is the Raptors ’ head coach when the 2018-19 season begins. Maybe a fresh voice could demand more from DeMar DeRozan, Dave Feschuk writes.

The Toronto Raptors fired coach Dwane Casey on Friday, the team announced. Former Atlanta Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer is expected to get a close inspection for the Raptors opening, league sources said. ESPN' s Chris Forsberg and Dave McMenamin contributed to this report.

As for the grim memory of Toronto’s four-game, second-round elimination by LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers — that reflected poorly on everyone in the Raptors organization, from its tandem of all-stars to its coaching staff. And that’s where the Ujiri-Casey relationship ultimately lost its way.

So, a month after Casey exited, the team president landed on a choice between an Iowan and an Italian. The 50-year-old Nurse, who’s from Carroll, Iowa, has been a head coach in the NBA’s developmental league, now known as the G League, where he won a pair of championships before being hired to Casey’s staff in 2013, and is best known as the chief architect of Toronto’s 2017-18 offensive makeover. The 58-year-old Messina is an Italian basketball legend who won four EuroLeague championships as a head coach before starting a new life as an NBA assistant under San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich back in 2014.

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Raptors coach Dwane Casey was right all along: Feschuk | Toronto Star. Dave Feschuk . · 17 апреля 2015 г. · Raptors head coach Dwane Casey loves defence. His team this season? Not so much.

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Though their backgrounds are divergent, both have one thing in common: This would be their first NBA head-coaching position. This is Ujiri’s first NBA head-coaching hire. This, as it happens, is also one of Ujiri’s first Toronto-based decisions that hasn’t involved a key piece of the organization originally brought aboard by Bryan Colangelo. In the sunny years before he earned infamy for a bizarre Twitter scandal that saw him part ways with the Philadelphia 76ers last week, Colangelo hired Casey, just as he drafted DeMar DeRozan and Jonas Valanciunas and traded for Kyle Lowry. When Ujiri re-signed Casey to a three-year deal in 2016 — not to mention when he re-upped DeRozan and Valanciunas and Lowry — he was essentially sticking with another brick in a foundation he didn’t lay.

So this is a rare step outside that Colangelo-built status quo. Nobody doubts Ujiri is possessed of his own vision. But this will be a telling window into it.

Whoever gets the gig, he won’t be assisted by Jerry Stackhouse. As ESPN reported Sunday, Stackhouse, who’d spent the past two seasons as head coach of the G League Raptors 905, has agreed to a deal to join the Memphis Grizzlies as an assistant coach. Stackhouse, though he interviewed for the Toronto job, wasn’t going to get the head coach’s gig given his limited resume (before Raptors 905, which he led to two straight league finals and the 2017 championship, he spent just one year as a Casey assistant). But Stackhouse is a future NBA head coach to many eyes. And there had to be concerns in Toronto that no matter who ends up in the head coach’s chair, Stackhouse’s clear ambition and self-assuredness could have proved an unwelcome presence.

Why Raptors' Jonas Valanciunas, Masai Ujiri are relying on Nick Nurse for future success

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Belief is the Raptors have narrowed their head coaching search to 2 leading candidates – Nick Nurse and Messina – with a decision expected to come this week or next. In any case, here’ s a piece from the Toronto Star’ s Dave Feschuk from 2008 about Messina.

In a report from Dave Feschuk of the Toronto Star, league sources say the newly minted head coaches - Nurse with Toronto and Casey with the Detroit Pistons - haven't been on good terms since Casey was let go by the Raptors on May 11 before Nurse' s promotion to the top spot.

As of Monday night, exactly who will land the last remaining head-coaching gig of the NBA off-season remained a topic of conjecture in the basketball community. Some sources familiar with Toronto’s situation were betting it will be Nurse because Ujiri has a long record of defaulting to a known quantity. Another source in the coaching community figured it will be Messina — because he’s a different voice, and because he has the San Antonio ties Ujiri deeply respects. (Plan A, don’t forget, was to hire longtime Popovich assistant Mike Budenholzer before Budenholzer landed in Milwaukee.)

And if coaching was Toronto’s problem in the playoffs — and that’s what Ujiri was essentially saying with Casey’s termination — undergoing a month-long search only to hire the guy who was sitting next to Casey the past five years could be framed by a skeptic as borderline absurd. Or maybe it’ll simply be spun as a long, hard bout of necessary due diligence.

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