Five games into his second season as head coach of the Detroit Pistons, Dwane Casey finds himself going against the Toronto Raptors for the fourth time since being relieved of his head coaching duties in May 2018.
PREVIEW: Raptors take on Casey, Pistons
Casey, who is Toronto's franchise all-time leader in coaching victories (320) and winning percentage (.573), led Detroit to a three-game sweep over his former team in the 2018-19 regular season.
While the injury-riddled Pistons fell in the first round of the playoffs to the Bucks, the Raptors would go on to win the first NBA title in franchise history under first-year head coach Nick Nurse.
In his first visit back to Scotiabank Arena since a banner was raised to the rafters, Casey spoke with reporters at shootaround about a wide range of topics, including the franchise winning the title in June.
Quotes per Josh Lewenberg, TSN.
On being back in Toronto and the team's title
"It's less weird [being back]. You get used to it. It's part of the NBA, changing teams. I'll say this out front: I'm so proud of the team from last year, how they came out and won the championship. Seeing the banner up there was beautiful for the team, for the organization, for the country. I can remember when we first got here we won 23 games and every year we got better and better and better. Masai did a heck of a job changing the team and making sure he got those pieces that he needed, and they won a championship. Nick (Nurse) did a good job of bringing 'em home. So it's great for everybody. It's great for the NBA, it's great for the fans."
On his feelings toward the organization
"I can't say enough good things. It irks me when I read the narrative that Dwane is salty. I can't say anything right. Everything I say, I say 'OK, we got better every year', oh he's salty. Or I say we developed those guys, oh he's salty. No, Dwane Casey is not salty at all. I'm happy for everybody who's here. I'm happy for the organization, Masai and I talked this summer, Larry Tanenbaum and I, we texted back and forth after it was over with, George Cope. So there's no animosity in my heart whatsoever. I can live, I can sleep at night. There's no saltiness, no pepper, no hot sauce, anything whatsoever."
On his relationship with Masai Ujiri
Lewenberg added that Casey delved further into his relationship with Raptors president Masai Ujiri, sharing that the two are on good terms, texted after the championship and even saw one another over the summer.
He touched on some of the spats they appeared to have during their professional relationship:
"As a general manager [and coach] you're not always going to agree. You're going to have those disagreements but it's never personal."
On the Raptors' young talent and his relationship with Kyle Lowry
During Casey's time with the Raptors, the franchise brought in Norman Powell (draft-day trade), Pascal Siakam (draft) and Fred VanVleet (undrafted) as rookies - three players that had a large role in the 2019 title.
Per Lewenberg, Casey did not hesitate to compliment Siakam and VanVleet.
Casey praised all the Raptors' young guys, especially Siakam and VanVleet, who "had every excuse not to make it" but have.- Josh Lewenberg (@JLew1050) October 30, 2019
"All those stories are beautiful stories."
He also said he's happy for Lowry. They've texted back and forth since the championship.
On what he misses about Toronto
When asked about what he missed about the city of Toronto, Lewenberg reports that Casey quipped that it is not the traffic.
The 2018 Coach of the Year would go on to add that "You miss everything about the city and the organization, the people that are important to you. All the good things about Toronto and the country."
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