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Raptors shake things up: Nick Nurse fired as head coach, search for successor begins

The Toronto Raptors have fired head coach Nick Nurse after a disappointing 41-41 season that saw them miss out on the playoffs.

Toronto raptors nick nurse fired as head coach search for successor begins
Toronto raptors nick nurse fired as head coach search for successor begins

After a disappointing season that saw the Toronto Raptors finish 41-41 and miss out on the playoffs, it comes as no surprise that changes were going to be made. The first casualty of the off season is none other than Nick Nurse, the man who led the Raptors to their first ever NBA championship in 2019.

Nurse, who has been with the organization for 10 seasons, was let go by the team’s president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri.

In a statement to the media, Ujiri expressed his gratitude towards Nurse for his contributions to the franchise, but also noted that the decision was made to “reset, refocus and put into place the personnel and players who will help us reach our goal of winning our next championship.”

“We want to wish Nick Nurse and his family the best of luck, thank him for everything he has done in this organization, including helping us win an incredible a championship. “

Nurse’s firing marks the end of an era for the Raptors, who have enjoyed a successful run under his leadership. The 55-year-old coach, who was born in Carroll, Iowa, began his coaching career as an assistant coach for the team in 2013. He quickly made a name for himself with his innovative strategies and player development skills, which helped him rise up the ranks to become the head coach in 2018.

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Raptors shake things up nick nurse fired as head coach search for successor begins
Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse following their 2019 NBA championship title.

In his first season as head coach, Nurse led the Raptors to their first NBA championship, with a thrilling 4-2 series win over the Golden State Warriors in the 2019 NBA Finals.

The following season, he was named the NBA Coach of the Year, becoming the first coach in Raptors history to win the award. Despite facing challenges in the team’s last two seasons, Nurse has remained a highly respected figure in the league, praised for his innovative tactics and ability to motivate players.

After departing from the Raptors, Nurse will continue to lead the Canadian national team, a position he has held since 2019. Given his extensive experience and success in the NBA, his role will be invaluable as the team aims to qualify for the 2024 Olympics in Paris.

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The search for Nurse’s replacement has already begun, with several names being floated around as potential candidates for the job. Some of the early front-runners include Ime Udoka, the former Boston Celtics head coach, Frank Vogel, who led the Los Angeles Lakers to an NBA championship in 2020.

Another name being tossed around is Jerry Stackhouse, a former Raptors assistant, Raptors 905 head coach and current Vanderbilt Commodores bench boss. The Raptors will also have eyes on a few rising international assistant coaches in Denver Nuggets Jordi Hernandez and Memphis Grizzlies Darko Rajakovic.

Whoever the Raptors ultimately decide to hire, they will have big shoes to fill in the wake of Nurse’s departure. His legacy with the team is secure, and he will always be remembered as one of the most successful coaches in Raptors history.

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Nurse’s impressive track record as a coach will leave a significant impact on the Toronto Raptors, even though he was recently fired. He is among the five rookie head coaches who have led a team to the NBA Finals in the past 25 years, a testament to his coaching abilities.

During his five seasons as coach, Nurse led the Raptors to a 227-163 (.582) record, the 2019 championship, and the 2020 NBA Coach of the Year award. He also ranks first in several coaching categories for the Raptors, including a .582 win percentage, one championship, 25 playoff wins, and second in overall wins with 227.

Nurse’s postseason success with the Raptors is also notable, with the team posting a 25-16 record in the playoffs under his leadership. In fact, the only Eastern Conference team with a better playoff record since the 2018-19 season is the Milwaukee Bucks, who have a record of 39-23 (.629).

As for his future in the NBA, only time will tell where he ends up next, but one thing is for sure: he will be a sought-after commodity in the league, with several teams likely to show interest in his services.

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