The Toronto Raptors didn’t have to look far to name their next coach. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that the Raptors are hiring current Raptors assistant Nick Nurse as their new coach.
The Toronto Raptors are hiring assistant Nick Nurse to become the franchise’s new head coach, league sources told ESPN.
Nurse is finalizing contract terms with Toronto, but met with president Masai Ujiri and general manager Bobby Webster on Tuesday morning to accept the job, sources said.
The move was also reported via Twitter by Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun.
Nurse, 50, joined the franchise five years ago and was a longtime assistant under former Raptors coach Dwane Casey. Nurse spent a decade coaching in Europe and won to championships and a coach of the year award in the British Basketball League. He also won a pair of titles in the G League with two different teams and was coach of the year there, too.
Nurse was tasked with overseeing the team’s offense alongside Casey and played a key role in Toronto’s overhaul last season. After ranking 11th in True Shooting percentage and 21st in 3-pointers made in 2016-17, the Raptors moved up to fourth in both categories as the team enjoyed its best regular season ever.
In mid-May, the Raptors parted ways with Casey and were searching for a new coach ever since. Casey led the Raptors to a team-record 59-23 mark in 2017-18 and the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference. But the Raptors were swept in the Eastern Conference semifinals by the Cleveland Cavaliers, setting in motion an earlier-than-expected offseason for Toronto. Shortly after Toronto’s loss in Game 4 of the semis, Casey was named the NBCA Coach of the Year — an award that is voted on by a panel of his coaching peers.
As of Monday night, Nurse was one of the favorites for the job — along with San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Ettore Messina. Additionally, the Raptors interviewed Sarunas Jasikevicius for the gig last week, per ESPN.
While the Raptors weighed their coaching candidates, every NBA team that had a coaching position to fill — the Orlando Magic, Charlotte Hornets, New York Knicks, Detroit Pistons, Memphis Grizzlies, Phoenix Suns and Milwaukee Bucks — has since found a new coach.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.