The Raptors have officially found their man. Toronto has hired Nick Nurse as their next coach after a month-long search. Nurse has been an assistant with the Raptors under former head coach Dwane Casey. When Casey was fired, however, Nurse was seen as a potential replacement option from within the franchise. According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, it's a three-year deal worth nearly $10 million.
"Nick is an innovative coach who has a tremendous basketball IQ, and a unique approach to the Xʼs and Oʼs. Weʼve valued his creativity and dedication as he focused on making our offense one of the best in the NBA, and we believe that he will bring those qualities to his new role as head coach," team president Masai Ujiri said. "This is an exciting and important season for the Raptors, and I believe Nickʼs strong leadership and focus on winning are qualities which will help lead us to our ultimate goal, which is a championship."
Nurse has been an assistant with the Raptors since 2013. Before that, he was a coach in Europe and the G League. Before he was hired by the Raptors, Nurse's name popped up in searches for previously vacant coaching jobs like the Magic.
The Raptors will hope that Nurse can achieve what Casey couldn't and help Toronto take the next step. The Raptors have been a successful team for years now, but they've consistently failed to meet expectations in the playoffs. While Nurse was an assistant during that time frame, the hope is that a familiar voice with different ideas will be what the roster needs to make the jump to a true contender.
For some, this hire might be uninspiring. The Raptors fired a successful coach in Casey only to hire one of his assistants. That isn't much of a change. However, the Raptors are building a culture in Toronto and Nurse can help continue that culture, thanks to being familiar with the organization. There's value in that. Everybody will just have to wait and see if that was the correct decision.