Adrian Wojnarowski: Nick Nurse has agreed to a three-year, nearly $10M deal to become head coach of the Toronto Raptors, league sources tell ESPN.
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One league source suggested that on a bench occupied by the defence-first Casey and defensive co-ordinator Rex Kalamian, Nurse’s offence-forward suggestions were never fully heard nor understood. So that’s the argument for making the change. Nurse, the line of thinking goes, couldn’t be the innovator he’s capable of being with an old-school head coach at the wheel. If that’s true we’ll only know the extent of Nurse’s talents when he’s fully strapped into the driver’s seat. Nurse’s supporters expect he’ll find a way to hold players accountable in a ways Casey couldn’t. Wish him luck, because he’ll need it.
“He’s a coach that gave tremendous confidence to his players, one through 15,” Toure’ Murry, who played for Nurse in Rio Grande Valley, told The Athletic earlier this week. “I think he’s really, really great at figuring out ways to take advantage. He reminds me of a guy like (Utah coach) Quin Snyder — young, very enthusiastic, very smart about the game. He does smart things that help the team win.”
The Toronto Raptors are hiring assistant Nick Nurse to become the franchise’s new head coach, league sources told ESPN.
Nurse is finalizing contract terms with Toronto, but met with president Masai Ujiri and general manager Bobby Webster on Tuesday morning to accept the job, sources said. Nurse, 50, replaces Dwane Casey, whom he worked under for the past five seasons. Nurse has six seasons of head-coaching experience in the NBA G League, where he won two championships and a coach of the year award.
With the Finals in the rear-view mirror and the NBA off-season officially underway, the Toronto Raptors are entering the final stages of their month-long search for a new head coach. The belief, according to sources, is that the team has narrowed it down to two leading candidates – Toronto assistant Nick Nurse and San Antonio Spurs assistant Ettore Messina – with a decision expected to come this week or next.
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. Messina made a strong impression on the Raptors brass when he met with them late last month and was in Toronto for a second interview on Thursday, league sources confirm to TSN.
Josh Lewenberg: Spurs assistant Ettore Messina was in Toronto for a 2nd interview last week. Belief is the Raptors have narrowed their head coaching search to 2 leading candidates – Nick Nurse and Messina – with a decision expected to come this week or next.
Donatas Urbonas: Sarunas Jasikevicius admitted Raptors offer surprised him: “I didn’t think it will come so fast. It’s a pleasure to talk with people from different environment. It’s a pleasure they’re interested. It was a pleasure to be part of the process & we’ll see where it’s all coming to”
It’s been nearly four weeks since the Toronto Raptors made the controversial decision to fire their head coach, Dwane Casey, and while the search for his replacement is still ongoing the team appears to be leaning towards a familiar face. Toronto assistant Nick Nurse remains the favourite to land the Raptors’ vacant head coaching job, league sources tell TSN, though several external candidates are also being considered, including San Antonio Spurs assistants Ettore Messina and Ime Udoka, as well as Sarunas Jasikevicius, a rising star in the EuroLeague.
Nurse was among the first interviewed by team president Masai Ujiri and general manager Bobby Webster in the middle of May, the week after Casey was let go. The others in that initial group have either been hired elsewhere (former Hawks and current Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer) or are believed to have lost traction in the evaluation process (Raptors assistant Rex Kalamian and Raptors 905 head coach).
Josh Lewenberg: Toronto assistant Nick Nurse is still believed to be the front-runner in the Raptors’ coaching search, league sources tell TSN, but the team is also considering external candidates. Decision expected to be made before the end of the month.
Ujiri met with Jasikevicius, 42, in Europe in recent days, and he’s become another candidate to replace Dwane Casey. Jasikevicius led Zalgiris of Lithuania to the EuroLeague Final Four this season. He played collegiately at Maryland for Hall of Fame coach Gary Williams, had stops in the NBA with Indiana and Golden State, and had a decorated EuroLeague career.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Toronto President Masai Ujiri interviewed Zalgris (Lithuania) coach Sarunas Jasikevicius for the Raptors head coaching job, league sources tell ESPN. Jasikevicius is a young EuroLeague coaching star and former NBA player.
Adrian Wojnarowski: San Antonio Spurs assistant coaches Ettore Messina and Ime Udoka interviewed with the Toronto Raptors for the franchise’s head coaching job on Thursday and Friday, respectively, league sources told ESPN.
Shams Charania: The Toronto Raptors interviewed Jerry Stackhouse, head coach of G League affiliate Raptors 905, last week in Chicago for the team’s head coach opening, league sources tell Yahoo.
Kristian Winfield: Masai Ujiri on Raptors coaching search: “It’s a tough place because you have to find that balance. But you can’t always think of the team now, you also have to think of the future.. You have think of the vision as a whole.”
Adrian Wojnarowski: Toronto met with Budenholzer on Monday, but never made him an offer, sources tell ESPN.
Josh Lewenberg: Mike Budenholzer chooses Milwaukee, per Woj. Not a surprise (see my previous tweets). I get the sense that Nick Nurse is the current favourite for the Raptors job, although Rex Kalamian and Jerry Stackhouse are in the running, among others.
The Raptors opened talks with Budenholzer over the weekend, and those conversations were continuing Monday, league sources said. The Bucks considered Budenholzer their front-runner after the opening round of interviews and are working to re-engage him in talks that will include ownership, league sources said.
After the dismissal of highly successful coach Dwane Casey, Toronto is selling the returning core of a 59-win Eastern Conference No. 1 seed, a past NBA Executive of the Year in Masai Ujiri and a streamlined ownership group with immense resources and a willingness to spend. Milwaukee is selling a transcendent young star in Giannis Antetokounmpo, a solid supporting cast and the opening of a new downtown arena next season.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Mike Budenholzer has emerged as the focus of the Milwaukee and Toronto coaching searches, league sources tell ESPN. Raptors are opening conversations with Budenholzer and Bucks will re-engage with him early this week, sources said.
Former Atlanta Hawks head coach Mike Budenholzer is on the Raptors radar, according to sources. He’s widely respected for his expertise on both sides of the ball and led the Hawks to four straight playoff appearances (prior to this year) including the No.1 seed in the East and a 60-22 record in 2015.
David Aldridge: Raptors assistants Rex Kalamian, Nick Nurse will get consideration for head coach job, per source, along with Mike Budenholzer and others. Kalamian/Nurse each highly regarded, veteran coaches who’ve been part of young player development in Toronto.
Josh Lewenberg: Masai said he’s not ruling anyone out for the job opening, will consider experienced candidates and younger candidates. “We’ll look everywhere.” He says the current assistant are still with them “for now”. Some of them will get interviews for the Raps gig.
Eric Koreen: Masai says DeMar or Kyle had no say over firing, and they haven’t even had those conversations.
Marc Stein: Raptors president Masai Ujiri has strong interest in former Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer, according to coaching sources. Dwane Casey, meanwhile, is likely to emerge as a contender for one or two of the league’s other four vacancies.
Rod Beard: Keep in mind that if the #Raptors want to stay with a familiar face, #Raptors905 coach Jerry Stackhouse is a name that’s been floating around in recent coaching searches.
Former Atlanta Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer is expected to get a close inspection for the Raptors opening, league sources said. Budenholzer met with Milwaukee on Tuesday, league sources said.
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October 17, 2018 | 9:34 pm EDT Update
Adam Johnson: After being waived by the Bulls earlier this week, Antonius Cleveland has signed a G League contract according to a league source. His rights are with the Santa Cruz Warriors. A nice addition after losing Tyler Ulis to a two-way to the same Bulls.
The Detroit Pistons used their opening night at Little Caesars Arena to pay a final tribute to a fallen legend. Before the player introductions for Wednesday night’s game against the Brooklyn Nets, public address announcer John Mason introduced Pistons legend Isiah Thomas. The Basketball Hall of Famer stood by a microphone and read a statement about Aretha Franklin, the legendary singer from metro Detroit who died this summer.
“The Detroit Pistons family and I were deeply saddened by the recent passing of a true Detroit icon. The Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, was a shining symbol of this great city. She represented us all with dignity, style, grace and beauty,” Thomas said. After Thomas was finished, all but one spotlight shone on center court, with one microphone and stand. Then, a recording of Franklin’s national anthem played at LCA as the Fox Sports Detroit telecast showed a video montage.