The Toronto Raptors have promoted assistant coach Nick Nurse to the team's vacant head coaching position.
Official: We've promoted Nick Nurse to be our 9th Head Coach in franchise history. #WeTheNorth- Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) June 14, 2018
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In mid-May, the Raptors fired coach Dwane Casey and had been searching for a new coach ever since. In that span, every other NBA team that had a coaching vacancy - the Orlando Magic, Charlotte Hornets, New York Knicks, Detroit Pistons, Phoenix Suns and Milwaukee Bucks - has found a new coach.
TSN's Josh Lewenberg reported that Nurse was one of the first candidates interviewed by Raptors president Masai Ujiri and general manager Bobby Webster:
Nurse, one of the first to be interviewed by Raptors president Masai Ujiri and general manager Bobby Webster, was seen as an early frontrunner and has been an internal favourite for the job throughout.
Nurse, 50, spent over a decade coaching in Europe, primarily in the British Basketball League, where he won two championships and a coach of the year award. In the NBA G League - formerly the D-League - he also won a pair of titles, doing so with two different teams, and earned coach of the year honours.
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.