The Raptors finished the season with the most wins in franchise history. Apparently, that wasn't enough to save Dwane Casey's job.
The Raptors announced Friday that they're cutting ties with their coach. The move comes just days after Toronto, the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference, was swept by LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the second round of the playoffs.
"After careful consideration, I have decided this is a very difficult but necessary step the franchise must take," Raptors president Masai Ujiri said. "As a team, we are constantly trying to grow and improve in order to get to the next level," Ujiri said. "We celebrate everything Dwane has done for the organization, we thank him, and we wish him nothing but the best in future. He was instrumental in creating the identity and culture of who we are as a team, and we are so proud of that."
Casey led Toronto to a 320-238 record in seven seasons with the Raptors, including three 50-win seasons, none more impressive than 2017-18, as the team won 59 games. But his regular-season success didn't always translate well to the postseason; in five playoff appearances under Casey, the Raptors advanced only once to the East Conference finals (2015-16), where they lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers in six games.
Toronto's playoff flop may have been reason enough to cut ties with Casey, but his contract situation may have also been a factor. According to Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today, Casey, who was heading into the final year of his deal, reportedly sought a contact extension in an effort to maintain job security.
The Raptors won four Atlantic Division titles during Casey's time at the helm in Toronto and was the longest-tenured, all-time winningest coach in franchise history.
With Casey out, Raptors assistant Nick Nurse is the name to watch as a possible successor in Toronto, as is ex-Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer. Nurse has been with Toronto since 2013 and has a wealth of experience at the professional and collegiate level. Budenholzer, the 2014-15 NBA Coach of the Year, spent five years with the Hawks before parting ways with the organization this offseason.