Dwane Casey Rumors
Ken Berger: In addition to Bill Bayno, Tom Sterner has been let go from Dwane Casey’s Raptors staff, league source tells @CBSSports.
Ken Berger: Shakeup on Dwane Casey’s staff in Toronto has begun, as assistant Bill Bayno was let go Monday, league source tells @CBSSports.
Michael Grange: There will no announcement confirming Dwane Casey staying on with Raptors. He is the head coach. There are no plans to make a change. Casey will have final say on staff, but will obviously consult with Ujiri. Very unlikely to be full overhaul. My bet is 1 or 2 changes.
Toronto general manager Masai Ujiri has recently said the Raptors organization is “going through the process” of evaluating the individuals in the program before making a decision on whether to retain head coach Dwane Casey another season. If Casey is let go, Nuggets interim coach Melvin Hunt could be among the names in contention there. Hunt and Ujiri worked together in Denver.
But the bigger decision will be on coach Dwane Casey. He has one year left on his contract, and though he has taken the team to 97 wins and the two best records in franchise history the last two years, Toronto’s sweep at the hands of Washington was an enormous disappointment. The Raptors were 37-17 just after the All-Star break but closed by going 12-16, and the defense Casey had worked so hard to turn around gave back all of its progress over the course of the year. General manager Masai Ujiri has been patient in running this bunch, though, and though he was not the guy who hired Casey, the two have been on the same page since Ujiri took the Toronto job in 2013. Casey is not likely to get an extension beyond next season, but he is not likely to get fired yet, either.
Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri made the rounds on Toronto sports radio Wednesday, but much like in his season-ending news conference last week, he didn’t have much to add on the status of coach Dwane Casey. “I’m still studying it, we’re still gathering all the information,” Ujiri told Sportsnet 590 The FAN in regards to whether a decision has been made on Casey’s future. Approximately 20 minutes later, Ujiri told competing station TSN 1050 the same thing. “We’re still going to go through the process of looking at the things we did well and the things we didn’t do so well,” he said. “When that happens, we will make a decision and move forward.”
There was no open suggestion that Dwane’s job is in jeopardy, just as there was no open suggestion that it isn’t. The met Monday, they met Tuesday and they are to meet today and I would suspect once concerns on both sides are raised and discussed – heatedly, I would think – they will emerge united and ready to move on.
Dwane Casey has done wonderful things in Toronto, but this was not a good series for him, and it’s unclear if he’ll be back next season, per league sources, even though he’s under contract. Ujiri will listen to inquiries about every player, but those expecting a fire sale should remember: Ujiri didn’t build a pristine trade record by acting desperately — not even when Carmelo and LaLa had him over a barrel.
Those who know Lowry say that it would be wrong to put too much emphasis on what he said or how he said it. Lowry and coaches have always been territory rich for head butting, but by all accounts Lowry and Casey had a positive end-of-season meeting, and if they weren’t always sending affectionate texts, were able to work together.
But given the chance, Lowry stalled. He diminished the club’s hot start as a product of being ahead of the curve coming out of training camp, suggesting that when other teams got up to their speed, the Raptors got caught. He spoke vaguely of “things internally that probably need to be fixed.” And he didn’t exactly bubble over with enthusiasm regarding Casey: “I respect Casey as a man. He’s a hell of a guy,” said Lowry, who played four of his worst games of the season against Washington, on the heels of slump in production that began in earnest in the early days of the 2015. “[But] at the end of the day, like I said, it’s not my choice, not my decision. At the end of the day, yeah, if he’s the coach, I’m a player. I’ve said that a couple of years now. At the end of the day, whoever the coach is, if he’s the coach, then I’ll be back playing for coach Casey.”
Said Pat Patterson: “Coach Casey is definitely a guy who’s always going to tell it as it is. He’s not going to sugarcoat things and that’s what we needed for us, especially in the second half of the season.”
A number of teammates were asked versions of the same thing, a natural question given how things ended. Most of them managed to make it sound like they would be cool with it. “I know Case gets a lot of flak, [but] Case is a great coach,” said DeMar DeRozan. “I’ve got to give him credit, he pushes us day in and day out [and] like I said, it could be one little thing. It’s like a Rubik’s Cube, you just got to find the right side to get everything else going.”
Initial indications, though, suggest that Casey will indeed be back next season, according to the latest whispers on the Toronto grapevine. The fact Ujiri scheduled his end-of-season press conference for Tuesday, instead of taking an extra week to evaluate things like Sam Presti did in Oklahoma City, would also seem to bode well for Casey.
The bigger elephant in the room is the status of head coach Dwane Casey. He signed a three-year extension worth roughly $11.25 million last May that would carry him through the 2016-17 season; however, the final year of that deal is a team option. So in essence the Raptors owe Casey one more fully guaranteed year, which likely means his status as a head coach gets looked at too. Like the Pelicans, the Raptors have some soul searching to do, mainly because the postseason exposed the numerous flaws of the team all in one neat little four-game package.
Michael Grange: Casey: I expect to be back … our staff did a heckuva job working with the players every day. We have nothing to be ashamed of …